Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Drexel Ignore Call to Disband as Arrests Nationwide Approach 3,000

Pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment at the University of Drexel campus as they rally to mark the Nakba anniversary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 18, 2024. (AFP)
Pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment at the University of Drexel campus as they rally to mark the Nakba anniversary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 18, 2024. (AFP)
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Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Drexel Ignore Call to Disband as Arrests Nationwide Approach 3,000

Pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment at the University of Drexel campus as they rally to mark the Nakba anniversary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 18, 2024. (AFP)
Pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment at the University of Drexel campus as they rally to mark the Nakba anniversary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 18, 2024. (AFP)

Pro-Palestinian protesters ignored a request by Drexel University's president to disband their encampment on Monday as arrests linked to campus demonstrations against the Israel-Hamas war approached the 3,000 mark nationwide.

Drexel's campus remained on lockdown, with classes being held virtually as police kept watch over the demonstration on the school's Korman Quad. Many Drexel employees were told to work from home.

In a statement issued a day earlier, Drexel President John Fry said as many as 60 protesters were at the encampment, lambasting it as “intolerably disruptive to normal university operations." He said there were "serious concerns about the conduct of some participants, including distressing reports and images of protestors subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech, signs and chants.” Fry threatened disciplinary action against Drexel students participating in the protest.

The Drexel Palestine Coalition responded on Instagram late Sunday that “it is slander to accuse the encampment of ‘hateful’ or ‘intimidating' actions when we have done neither.” The group accused Drexel and city police of harassment and intimidation.

No arrests were reported.

Students and others have set up tent encampments on campuses around the country to press colleges to cut financial ties with Israel. Tensions over the war have been high on campuses since the fall but demonstrations spread quickly following an April 18 police crackdown on an encampment at Columbia University.

Nearly 3,000 people have been arrested on US campuses over the past month. As summer break approaches, there have been fewer new arrests and campuses have been calmer. Still, colleges have been vigilant for disruptions to commencement ceremonies.

The encampment at Drexel, which has about 22,000 students, was set up after several hundred demonstrators marched from Philadelphia’s City Hall to west Philadelphia on Saturday. Nearby, on the University of Pennsylvania campus, university and city police arrested 19 demonstrators Friday night, including six Penn students.

Elsewhere, dozens of George Washington University graduates walked out of commencement ceremonies at the base of the Washington Monument on Sunday, disrupting university President Ellen Granberg’s speech, while at Morehouse College in Atlanta, President Joe Biden told the graduating class that he heard the voices of protest, and had called for “an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza and the return of hostages taken by Hamas.

Wesleyan University in Connecticut said it has reached agreement with student protesters to review possible divestment, with meetings scheduled for later this month and in the fall. Wesleyan President Michael Roth announced the deal over the weekend and disclosed that 1.7% of Wesleyan’s endowment was invested in aerospace and defense businesses, but that none were directly involved in the manufacture of weapons. He said protesters had agreed to clear their encampment on Monday.

The latest Israel-Hamas war began when Hamas and other gunmen stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking an additional 250 hostage. Palestinian militants still hold about 100 captives, while Israel’s military has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants.



US, Ukraine Ink 10-year Defense Agreement

US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
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US, Ukraine Ink 10-year Defense Agreement

US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)
US President Joe Biden attends a flags ceremony with paratroopers at Borgo Egnazia Golf Club San Domenico during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy in Apulia region, on June 13, 2024 in Savelletri. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

US President Joe Biden and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement on Thursday aimed at bolstering Ukraine's defense against Russian invaders.

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy, is meant to be a step towards Ukraine's eventual NATO membership, according to the text of the deal.

"The parties recognize this agreement as supporting a bridge to Ukraine’s eventual membership in the NATO alliance," the text says, according to Reuters.

Zelenskiy has long sought NATO membership but the allies have stopped short of taking that step. The Western alliance regards any attack launched on one of its 32 members as an attack on all under its Article Five clause.

In the event of an armed attack or threat of such against Ukraine, top US and Ukrainian officials will meet within 24 hours to consult on a response and determine what additional defense needs are required for Ukraine, the agreement says.

Under the agreement, the United States restates its support for Ukraine's defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, amid a renewed push by Russia on Ukraine's eastern front.

"To ensure Ukraine’s security, both sides recognize Ukraine needs a significant military force, robust capabilities, and sustained investments in its defense industrial base that are consistent with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)standards," the text says.

"The United States intends to provide long-term materiel, training and advising, sustainment, intelligence, security, defense industrial, institutional, and other support to develop Ukrainian security and defense forces that are capable of defending a sovereign, independent, democratic Ukraine and deterring future aggression," it says.