10:43 a.m. update: DMV SJP encampment enters second day at GW

According to reporting by The GW Hatchet, protesters remained in their tents until they were disturbed at approximately 5:20 a.m. by the appearance of roughly seven officers in the southeast corner of University Yard alongside 20th Street. At 6:50 a.m., police began placing barricades between U-Yard and H Street. At 7:39 a.m, administrators announced the closure of U-Yard in a George Washington University (GW) alert—at which time the barricade was sealed, preventing people from entering, though protesters could still leave the encampment.

Organizers then cleared protesters who plan to avoid arrest, beginning with those who planned to leave after the first police warning, at 7:50 a.m. Organizers cleared protesters who planned to clear after the second police warning, at approximately 8:30 a.m. No orders were issued over loudspeakers by the police to clear the encampment.

Around 100 protesters remain chanting outside of University Yard, in solidarity with the roughly 10 student organizers who remain inside the encampment. There are approximately 20 GWPD officers scattered around U-Yard and the barricade, with another five on H Street as well as two MPD officers.

In a statement to the Voice at 10:25 a.m., a GW spokesperson wrote: “The individuals who remain on University Yard and any who attempt to join them are trespassing on private property and violating university regulations. We continue to work with the MPD to ensure the safety and security of our campus. We are aware that individuals who are not GW students have joined the protest, and we have taken steps to restrict access to University Yard.”

The spokesperson also noted that GW plans to take disciplinary actions against its students involved.

Photo by Connor Martin

3:05 a.m. update: Organizers prepare for police sweep

Students began quietly standing and moving tents closer to the center of the encampment around 2 a.m. after organizers woke demonstrators up to review preparedness measures in the event police were deployed to clear the encampment.

Police presence started to grow slightly around 2:40 a.m. At that time, organizers began to lead a grounding circle, where they walked demonstrators through the various levels of risk protesters were assuming by staying, including potentially getting arrested or forcibly removed.

An organizer with GW Student Coalition for Justice in Palestine spoke to the stressful situation at the encampment, where protesters have remained hypervigilant due to threats of police intervention.

“Remember, this is why they do it at night,” the organizer said to the crowd. “They don’t want people to see this.”

Photo by Connor Martin

11:50 p.m. update: Protesters settle in for the night

After a day full of organizing and rallies, students and community members at the GW encampment are preparing for a long night. Organizers are helping coordinate tents for those wishing to remain overnight, but a quiet, broken only by the occasional musical interlude, has fallen over University Yard.

Roughly 100 community members remain, some scattered in the more than 30 tents in the center of the yard. Some students have brought sleeping bags, prepared to wait out the cold night.

“Us being here overnight after their curfew set, not only breaking their rules, it’s showing them that you can’t take away everything that we’re working towards—for us, for the people of Palestine, for the people of Sudan, for all of the people suffering oppression,” Zari Scott, an alumna of American University (AU), said.

University administrators and MPD have yet to take action to relocate the encampment. GWPD and MPD officers occasionally patrol the yard, but police presence remains limited.

“We know that police are likely to target protesters when they believe those protesters are vulnerable,” Lydia X. Z. Brown (CAS ’15), a disability justice activist and former adjunct lecturer, said, citing MPD’s policy of encampment clearings for people living on the streets and encampment clearings at other universities. “They will strike when they believe that there is not protection and solidarity from the community.”

Pro-Palestine protesters chanting in University Yard at George Washington University.Photo by Connor Martin

9:32 p.m. update: Students continue protesting without interference from police

As night falls more than two hours after the deadline set by GW administrators and MPD, enthusiasm at the encampment remains high, although the crowd has shrunk in size since the swell at 7 p.m. More than 450 people remain at University Yard as the protest enters its 18th hour.

GW administrators and MPD have not provided a specific timeline for relocating the encampment.

Following a brief prayer period for Muslim protesters to honor Maghrib, organizers took the microphone at roughly 8:45 p.m. to announce that they had no plans to leave the quad.

“We will not rest. We will not leave until we get full divestment, financial transparency, and all of our demands. I need you guys to stay with me,” an organizer with GW Student Coalition for Justice in Palestine said. “I need students to stay in this encampment. I need our community to continue to show up because we cannot give up. As scary as repression might be, there is nothing scarier than being underneath the bombs and airstrikes in Gaza.”

7:50 p.m. update: GW releases statement about encampment, emphasizes MPD cooperation

Protesters continue to circle University Yard, chanting pro-Palestine statements, as time continues to pass after GW’s deadline to clear the encampment.

In a statement to the Voice at 7:42 p.m., a GW spokesperson said, “The encampment is an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies. The university and MPD are continuing to work in coordination to determine how to best address the situation and ensure student compliance with those policies.”

7:15 p.m. update: GW and MPD deadline passes without police intervention

The 7 p.m. deadline to clear the encampment came and went seemingly without any police intervention, with the crowd only continuing to grow. Over 600 demonstrators are currently gathered at the encampment, chanting and listening to speeches. 

Several students and faculty members have said they are willing to be arrested, but police have not yet asked demonstrators to disperse. Organizers have set up a medical help and first aid station behind Western Market, which is across the street from University Yard. Police presence has not grown in the last few hours.

Zan Haq (SFS ’24) joined the protests with his friends in the late afternoon after seeing the demonstrations on the news and social media. He stressed that while the encampment was loud and passionate, he didn’t feel it was dangerous or unwelcoming.

“It’s a protest, people are fired up, but it’s not an intimidating environment,” Haq said. “People are very supportive, there’s places to sit, there’s food, there’s water. People here are incredibly kind—yes, they’re passionate, but this isn’t an intimidating environment.”

6:09 p.m. update: Chants resume as demonstration grows in size

A growing crowd of over 400 has resumed chants after a relatively calm couple of hours at the GW encampment. Some GWPD officers have been warning people that if protesters are asked to leave and do not comply, there may be arrests. 

Traffic on neighboring H Street has not been stopped, although police have propped up several barricades against the School of Media and Public Affairs, which is across the street from the University Yard encampment.

Organizers have been wheeling in boxes of food and supplies to people in the encampment. Students continue to demand transparency and accountability from GW administration.

Earlier this afternoon, Reem, a GW student and an organizer behind the encampment, who spoke to the Voice on the condition that her last name not be shared, said the encampment has four key objectives: divestment, transparency in funding and investment, amnesty for student organizers, and an end to academic partnerships with “Zionist institutions.”

Above all, she said, the intention of the encampment is to force the administration to pay attention.

“The people in Gaza cannot ignore the reality of their situation, and so the perpetrators of it should not be able to either,” Reem said. “Any sort of oppression we face, any sort of consequences we face are nothing compared to what people in Gaza are facing every single day, and so we are prepared to do everything within our power to make sure that all eyes are on Gaza right now.”

Photo by Connor Martin

Georgetown Law student groups including Georgetown Law Students for Justice in Palestine and Georgetown Law Jewish Students for Justice released a statement in solidarity with demonstrators at 5:20 p.m. They called on Georgetown Law to condemn the atrocities in Gaza, end the study abroad program with Hebrew University, and divest from companies supporting Israeli military operations in Gaza.

“We call on our peers to join demonstrations and actions, including the encampment at George Washington University, in order to end academic institutions’ profiteering from genocide and to show the Palestinian people that we stand in solidarity with them,” the statement reads.

4:54 p.m. update: Encampment continues, number of protesters remains constant

Students, faculty, and staff continue speeches, teach-ins, and sign-making at GW as the Gaza solidarity encampment enters its 13th hour. The number of participants remains around 300, with roughly 25 students observing the encampment while displaying Israeli flags. Organizers of the protest expect the crowd to grow around 6 p.m., after the work day ends and shortly before GW’s 7 p.m. deadline to vacate University Yard.

A statue of George Washington holding a Palestinian flag and wearing a keffiyeh.Photo by Connor Martin

3:35 p.m. update: Protest continues more than an hour after email requesting MPD assistance

In a statement to the GW community at 2:16 p.m, GW president Ellen Granberg formally requested assistance from MPD in clearing the encampment. Over an hour later, however, protesters continue to occupy University Yard without interruption from law enforcement. 

Granberg follows in the footsteps of other university administrators across the country in asking for police assistance to clear pro-Palestinian protests. Hundreds of students have been arrested in the last week, including more than 100 Columbia University students on April 18.

The email, which was co-signed by Provost Christopher Bracey, who was present at the encampment earlier in the morning, said that the encampment violated several university policies and asked for MPD assistance to “relocate” the encampment to an alternative site after attempts by GWPD to ask protesters to move to another location “went unheeded.”

“Occupying campus grounds, establishing outdoor encampments, and blocking access to buildings create safety concerns and can disrupt learning and study, especially during this critical final exam period,” the email, published in the Hatchet, said. “Such activities are inconsistent with the University’s mission, values, and commitment to providing a safe environment for all students and employees.”

The police presence has not increased in the square since the statement was released.

2:30 p.m. update: Students continue protesting as police presence, counter-protesters arrive

As the afternoon continues, protesters continue to occupy GW’s University Yard. The police presence has expanded since the encampment set up at approximately 5:30 a.m., as has the number of counter-protesters. 

Throughout the afternoon, members of the GWPD and MPD have circled the area, initially warning protesters that they would be unable to occupy the space after 7 p.m. In the afternoon, they were joined by several law enforcement officers from the D.C. Public Schools and a school bus. The GWPD chief of police, James Tate, as well as several GW administrators, including GW Provost Christopher Alan Bracey, are currently at the encampment. 

In the south quadrant of University Yard, in front of GW’s Lisner Hall, approximately 25 counterprotesters holding Israeli flags are observing the encampment.

The encampment currently consists of more than 300 people. Faculty and staff from Georgetown and other D.C. universities have set up a 30-person human chain around part of the encampment. Fida Adely, a professor at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in the SFS and organizer for GUFSJP, told the Voice that the faculty’s goal is to protect students from potential interference from law enforcement.

“ It’s both symbolic and also preventative. We’ve heard that the police are coming. We want to prevent students from this encampment from being cleared. We want to protect the right of students to sit here and protest,” Adely said.

Faculty and staff holding hands to form a human chain. In the center, two faculty members are holding a banner which reads, "GU Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine."Photo by Connor Martin

1:04 p.m. update: Marchers from Georgetown arrive at George Washington University

Nearly 150 demonstrators marching to GW’s encampment were met with honks, and cheers as Georgetown students marched down M Street to join student protests.

When the marches began at Georgetown just before 11:30 a.m., organizers advised student demonstrators to maintain safety protocols at all times and to avoid engaging with police or counter-protesters. 

Organizers led chants including “Free, free Palestine!” and “No peace on stolen land!” as demonstrators marched on sidewalks toward GW.

Archit Mehta (GRAD ’25), a demonstrator who joined the march to GW’s campus, spoke to the Voice about why he chose to join the protest. 

“It’s been over 200 days since the ongoing genocide has been going and we cannot stay silent,” Mehta said. “That’s why we are marching towards GW where encampments are set up and hopefully, Georgetown University will also join the group of universities which are willing to divest.”

The marchers from Georgetown arrived at GW’s University Yard encampment at 12:07 p.m. Those in the encampment cheered as the march approached, as the two groups convened into a joint rally in the center of the encampment.

Etai Abraham (SFS ’24), whose friend was arrested yesterday at similar protests at the University of Southern California, spoke to the Voice at the joint rally on the importance of student activism while also keeping the focus on Gaza.

“Students are the ones showing out and sort of leading the way, at least for Americans,”Abraham said. “[However], I don’t want anything to focus so much on the students and their protests—it should really be more about the genocide.”

A grey tent at the Gaza solidarity encampment at University Yard on GW's Foggy Bottom campus. A sign on the tent reads, "No justice, No peace!"Photo by Connor Martin

GW and Metro police officers were present on the scene, but as of 1:04 p.m. no altercations had taken place, and no arrests had been made.  

Adely spoke to the Voice on why Georgetown community members joined an encampment at GW, rather than having one on their own campus.

“I know that student groups in the DMV area have been talking and coordinating about what makes the most sense to both show solidarity with other campuses and given their own campus situations. So a decision was made to focus on one campus,” Adely said.

11:50 a.m. update: Hoyas hold rally for Gaza on campus 

More than 200 students participated in a rally and more than 100 joined a subsequent march from Georgetown to George Washington on April 25 protesting Israel’s invasion of Gaza and demanding the university divest from corporations that invest in Israel and its military operations. The rally took place just hours after several Georgetown students joined students from other D.C. universities, including GW and AU, in a large encampment on GW’s University Yard. 

The rally—organized by Georgetown Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), GU Faculty and Staff for Palestine (GUFSJP), and Zeytoun, a graduate student group advocating for decolonization—began in front of Healy Hall at 10:30 a.m. At the rally’s start, student organizers spoke to the crowd. Selina al-Shihabi (SFS ’26), a member of SJP, spoke first. 

“If you look back in history, at every historical movement that has been for good, it’s always the students stand up on campuses around the world and around the U.S.,” al-Shihabi said.

Photo by Connor Martin

Faculty members from GUFSJP spoke next.

“We will not rest until our institutions break all ties with Israel’s apartheid regime. And we will not rest until our institutions divest from companies profiting off of genocide,” Adely said.

Georgetown Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (GUFSJP) released a statement today in solidarity with protesters at Columbia. The statement demands a boycott of any collaborations with Columbia until the university meets a list of demands, including removing NYPD from campus and dropping charges against students facing disciplinary action for participation in the protests.

“We strongly support the right of students at Columbia and on other university campuses to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly and protest, and we condemn the recent crackdown on the Gaza encampment by the NYPD,” the GUFSJP press release reads. 

Photo by Connor Martin

At 11:22, over 130 students began marching off of Georgetown’s campus and down O Street, toward GW’s campus. As the march began, organizers advised students to avoid interactions with law enforcement, stay on sidewalks, and prioritize personal safety.

In an interview with the Voice, a member of GUMEDS4PAL, a group of medical students advocating for Palestinian liberation, spoke on the condition of anonymity. The student emphasized the importance of supporting their peers in Gaza.

“We’re coming out today not only to support the encampment efforts going on all throughout the universities in America, but really to support all of the students who have been denied access to education, access to life, access to comfort in Gaza,” they said.

Photo by Connor Martin

11 a.m. update: Encampment settles in for day at George Washington University

Students have settled into the encampment after setting up individual tents for sleeping, as well as Palestinian flags and supply tents. Outside University Yard, around 15 non-student protesters have begun drumming and chanting along the sidewalk lining H Street. A crowd of GW students has also steadily gathered around the encampment.

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Protesters have spent the morning chanting “Up! Up! With liberation! Down! Down! With occupation,” and “Israel bombs, U.S. pays, how many kids did you kill today?” among other chants. 

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Students from AU are also participating in the encampment. One student, who spoke with the Voice on the condition on the condition that her name not be shared, reflected on what her and her peers’ participation meant to the protest. 

“More importantly than any of the concerns over what’s going on our campuses is putting our eyes back on Gaza, and how there are no universities left in Gaza. That’s what the main focus of these encampments is,” she said. “And also letting our administration know that we’re not leaving until our demands are met.”  

Recently, AU students passed a referendum in favor of divesting the school’s endowment from investments connected to the Israeli government. The referendum was condemned by University President Sylvia Burwell. 

A little before 10 a.m., a counter-protester was escorted off the quad by members of the George Washington Police Department (GWPD). According to eyewitnesses and video from the scene, the man entered the crowd of chanting protesters with a small Israeli flag. He then began yelling “terrorism,” before pushing a protester. A member of GWPD told the Voice that the incident is under investigation and the man is currently being interviewed. 

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross


Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Police presence has increased, with at least one member of the Metropolitan Police Department observing the encampment from the other side of University Yard. 

8:07 a.m.: Students have established an encampment at GW

Students from GW, along with students from Georgetown and other schools from throughout the D.C. area, established an encampment in solidarity with Gaza early this morning on GW’s campus. It follows similar protests at universities across the country, including Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, and the University of Texas at Austin, among others. 

The protests are in response to Israel’s ongoing occupation and war in Gaza, in which the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel has “plausibly” violated the genocide convention

“It’s important to be here in order to recenter Gaza, to recenter Palestine,” Rahma Abdallah (SOH ’27), who helped set up tents and organize the encampment, said. “There is obviously a genocide going on—specifically a scholasticide—as students, we need to stand up for other students. All the universities there have been destroyed. We need to use our university that isn’t destroyed and speak up for them.” 

Nearly 70 students set up around 25 tents at University Yard, a main green on campus, at around 5:30 a.m. At 6 a.m., campus police began to arrive at the encampment and informed the protesters that only GW students are allowed to remain on the quad between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. under the condition that they remain mindful of their noise levels. 

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Across the country in the last week, student encampments and protests, like the one at GW, have been met with suspensions and arrests among other disciplinary measures.

The encampment was jointly planned by the DMV Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Coalition, which includes: George Mason University; GW; AU; Georgetown; the University of Maryland (UMD); the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Howard University; and Gallaudet University, although it is unclear if students from all eight schools were present. 

The student protesters are demanding financial transparency from their respective institutions, as well as the divestment of all funds invested in companies connected to Israel. Georgetown currently invests over $31 million in Alphabet and Amazon, two companies that create technologies for Project Nimbus, a cloud computing project used by the Israeli government and military.

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross 

Georgetown students said they think their presence at the encampment is valuable in order to present a united front and jointly pressure their institutions for financial transparency and divestment. 

“I’m here as an organizer, as a Jew, as a person of faith, and I’m here because there is a genocide going on, there were just mass graves found in Gaza,” Miriam Siegel (CAS ’26) said. “Our universities are funding this genocide. GW, Georgetown, AU, UMD, we’re all here in campus solidarity, and we need to escalate because the situation is so dire, people are dying every day.” 

Aside from the encampment, Georgetown students have also been planning a walkout on Georgetown’s campus, calling on the university to divest, which is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today beginning at the Healy steps.  

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Eddy Binford-Ross
Eddy Binford-Ross is a sophomore in the SFS and the news editor. She loves talking about the importance of student journalism, swimming in mountain lakes, reading good novels, and, of course, writing for the Voice.

Franziska Wild
Franzi Wild is a junior in the SFS and the news executive editor. She likes the natural world, Arabic verb forms, and kindness. She dislikes institutions and administrations.

Katie Doran
Katie is a freshman in the College, studying (probably) government, and the features editor. She loves tea, em dashes, baking, and pretty biweekly magazines from Georgetown's best publication.

Sydney Carroll
Sydney is a freshman in the college and a news assistant editor. Likes sushi, boygenius/Olivia Rodrigo/Noah Kahan/Taylor Swift, her 3 dogs, cat, and guinea pig, public transportation and Tennessee sunsets. Dislikes math, whichever team is playing the Buffalo Bills this week, the patriarchy, almost every politician who represents her, and mustard.

Connor Martin
Connor (he/him) is a junior in the college and the managing editor. He is also a member of the editorial board, a collector of snowglobes, and he can't wait to make you pasta after studying for three months in Florence, Italy. Ping Connor at managing@georgetownvoice.com.

Graham Krewinghaus
Graham was the editor-in-chief for the Spring 2024 semester. He cares too much about the Boston Celtics, and the proper amount about the Georgetown Voice.

Nora Scully
Nora is the fall 2023 editor-in-chief. She enjoys cats and dogs of all types and has been working on approaching D.C. dog owners to ask to pet their dog(s).

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