Pro-Palestinian protesters at Drexel University clear their camp as police move in; campus operations to return to normal

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Pro-Palestinian protesters from Drexel University have left the campus camp in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood without incident.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday, Drexel police asked protesters to evacuate the encampment before Philadelphia police arrived to help.

According to officials, the demonstrators then began to leave the field on their own almost immediately.

“Fortunately, it looks like we’ll be able to complete this operation without any arrests, use of force or anything like that,” said Sergeant Eric Gripp of the Philadelphia Police Department.

The road at 33rd and Market Streets heading toward Center City is closed to traffic, but one lane is open for those heading toward University City.

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Police said they will remain in the area for now.

This came amid continued calls from the university president to disperse, saying the protesters had “created a hostile, confrontational environment by subjecting passersby to anti-Semitic statements and making several ‘demands’ that also unacceptably targeted individual members of our faculty and staff.” “Specialized personnel.” as Jewish groups on campus.

“Any Drexel student in the camp is violating our university code of conduct. All protesters have been warned verbally, by email and through posted signs throughout the week that they must remain on university property and disperse,” Fry said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Action News was told there were about 25 to 30 protesters in the camp.

The pro-Palestinian camp at Korman Quad near Market and JFK has been in existence since Saturday. It emerged shortly after a similar encampment was removed from the University of Pennsylvania campus. Since then, additional demonstrations have taken place on and near the Ivy League campus and resulted in several arrests.

The dozens who set up the Gaza Solidarity camp at Drexel previously said they were members of the Philadelphia community. It is unclear how many of them were Drexel students.

President Fry had previously threatened disciplinary action against the Drexel students involved in the protest.

Drexel University is also expected to resume normal operations on Thursday, but a camp of pro-Palestinian supporters is still on campus.

All courses, lectures, facilities and events will resume normal operations on Thursday, with the exception of the Korman Center, which will remain closed until further notice, the university announced Wednesday evening. Security protocols remain in effect, including the need for identification to enter a campus building through a single entry point.

Earlier this week, classes were held virtually as police monitored the demonstration on the school’s Korman Quad.

READ MORE: Drexel threatens to clear camp as more than 3,000 arrests nationwide related to campus protests

Drexel’s president approves “all necessary steps” to clear the camp

The Drexel demonstrators’ demands ranged from calling for the university administration to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and withdraw from companies that do business with Israel, to abolishing the Drexel Police Department and disbanding the university’s own chapter of Hillel, the Jewish campus organization , and Chabad, another Jewish campus group.

In an Instagram post earlier this week, the Drexel Palestine Coalition said, “It is slander to accuse the camp of ‘hateful’ or ‘intimidating’ actions when we have done neither.” The group accused Drexel and city police of harassment and intimidation. A pro-Palestine group of faculty and staff also criticized Fry on Monday for closing campus facilities, saying the camp was “not disruptive to learning.”

Fry said several requests for meetings with protesters had been rejected.

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