GW encampment grows onto street in third day of protest for Gaza

Photo by Connor Martin

Saturday marks the third day that students have been camped in George Washington University’s (GW) University Yard, protesting in solidarity with Palestine. Late Friday evening, demonstrators that had been standing and chanting outside the barricaded-off encampment began setting up more tents on H Street.

Early Thursday morning, students from GW, Georgetown, and several other area universities pitched tents in University Yard, on H Street between 21st and 22nd streets, establishing a Gaza solidarity encampment and demanding, among other things, divestment from companies connected to Israel and amnesty for organizers.

The encampment 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. 

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of Georgetown students, faculty, and community members walked out of classes on campus and held a short Gaza solidarity rally. One hundred thirty-five of them began marching to GW’s campus at 11:22 a.m., arriving around 40 minutes later. Throughout the afternoon, University Yard saw numbers steadily grow, peaking at an estimated 600 protesters around 7:00 p.m.—the time at which GW had previously demanded dispersal.

Protesters did not disperse, but gradually thinned out over the course of Thursday night and Friday morning. By 7:48 a.m. on Friday, The GW Hatchet reported, the remaining 40 protesters were barricaded into the green by MPD officers.

Throughout Friday, substantial numbers of protesters remained on H Street, chanting and supporting those barricaded in the green. Georgetown students remain in the encampment, and more have arrived throughout the day.

Follow our live updates as they come in below:

Saturday 10:35 p.m. update: Protest grows to more than 500 as sun sets on day three

Organizers held a rally on H Street beginning around 6 p.m., featuring speeches from leaders of various GW cultural organizations, spoken poetry, and chants. Supply runs and food donations continued to reach the protesters inside the barricaded encampment at U-Yard. The crowd peaked at around 7 p.m. with more than 500 participants. Currently, there are around 200 protesters.

“It’s been really, really incredible to see how many people are coming out, allying with our demands, allying with Gaza,” a student inside the barricaded encampment at U-Yard, who spoke to the Voice on the condition that their name not be shared, said in an interview with the Voice.

A Georgetown student who was protesting at the rally, Emily Scheibe (CAS ’24), agreed. “It was just wonderful to see that community,” she said. “Hopefully, we were able to support them by just having bodies here.”

Students inside the barricaded U-Yard understand the risk they are entailing by participating in the encampment—earlier today, seven GW students were suspended for their involvement.

“We all came in here knowing that we were at risk, but that our risk was nothing compared to what people in Gaza, people in Palestine in general are undergoing every day,” the student inside the encampment said. “It just goes to show the complicity of these universities. The fact [is] that they’re more willing to suspend their students’ education, to put their students’ lives in danger, than they are to grapple with their own complicity.”

The DMV Gaza Solidarity Encampment listed demands for its eight participating universities—Georgetown, American University, GW, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, Howard University, University of Maryland, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County—in an Instagram post at 4 p.m.

Student protesters demand each participating university drop charges against pro-Palestine student organizers, end all academic partnerships with Israel (such as study abroad), protect pro-Palestine speech on campus, and divest from companies connected to Israel, among other demands. The organizers’ demands echoed those in the community statement issued by the Georgetown Divest Coalition.

Georgetown currently invests over $31 million in Alphabet and Amazon, two companies that develop technologies for Project Nimbus, a cloud computing project used by the Israeli government and military.

Photo by Connor Martin

Ella Castanier (CAS ’24), a student protester, pointed out the historical parallels between this demonstration and the student protests to divest from apartheid in South Africa in the late 1980s. “I really hope we see a continuation of that history and that legacy with all the student activism that’s happening right now,” Castanier said.

Isa Karathanos (SFS ’24), who participated in the rally, felt that she had an obligation to support GW students hosting the demonstrations on their campus.

“I feel it’s been an interschool effort and I have a lot of respect for the GW students who are risking a lot,” she said. “I feel as Georgetown students it’s our duty to come and support them.”

The student inside the encampment called for more students to join the demonstrations.

“They should be here. They should be aware. They should connect with the larger community. They should remember the demands,” she said.

​​“This affects all of us. This is not just GW. It’s all of us,” the student inside the encampment said. “We’ve seen that we have power to shape how the university is going to react. I think it’s really important that we keep pushing.”

Photo by Connor Martin

Saturday 5:47 p.m. update: More than 250 protest as GW encampment enters hour 60

More than 250 people are present at the encampment at GW after organizers put out a call for reinforcements for further protests beginning at 5 p.m. A few Georgetown students remain inside the barricaded encampment at University Yard, with many more protesting outside the barricades on H Street, where more than a dozen tents are standing. MPD and GWPD officers remain in the area.

Photo by Connor Martin

Saturday 3:04 p.m. update: Organizers hold press conference from behind the barricade

At 1:30 p.m., organizers held a press conference at the front of the encampment, where students from inside the encampment spoke to media and members of the public gathered outside.

Police have entirely barricaded the encampment, and, according to organizers, are preventing protestors from leaving the encampment at all, including “completely cutting off” access to bathrooms. Organizers said that the barricades create “reproductive and accessibility issues” for those within the encampment. 

Previously, security guards in buildings surrounding University Yard had been stationed outside of GW’s Corcoran Hall, escorting demonstrators in small groups to use the restroom. According to reporting by the Hatchet, a GWPD officer stationed outside Corcoran Hall said students, including those in the encampment facing suspension, can continue to use the Corcoran bathroom, following the statements given at the press conference that bathroom access has been restricted.

Organizers also spoke about MPD declining to clear the encampment, after GW officials requested a sweep on Friday at 3 a.m. While demonstrators were grateful the encampment wasn’t cleared, they maintained that their actions don’t necessitate police involvement.

“They refused to clear the encampment because nothing illegal is happening here,” an organizer said.

For the seven suspended GW students, suspensions officially started at 9 a.m. today, at which point students lost access to housing and meal plans. Organizers condemned GW administration for the suspensions, saying that the students now face housing and food insecurity. 

Responding to a question about legal representation, organizers confirmed that students inside the encampment all have lawyers. However, suspended students are unable to meet with their lawyers, organizers said, because the encampment is blocked off and lawyers are unable to go in.

On Instagram this morning, the DMV SJP Coalition called for protestors to arrive to H Street for further demonstrations at 5 p.m.

Saturday 6:21 a.m. update: Day three begins after quiet night

Protesters have started stirring as a second night concludes, now more than 49 hours into the encampment. Overnight, students as well as community members began setting up tents on H Street, where there are now 21 tents to go with several dozen remaining in the encampment. 

Georgetown students remain inside the encampment as well as on H Street, where a dozen or so overnighted in the tents or on the sidewalk in sleeping bags. 

Throughout the early morning, police presence has remained relatively consistent, with GW campus police officers watching University Yard entrances and several MPD patrol cars at each end of the H Street block.

Saturday 1:29 a.m. update: Students move tents to H Street, GW organizers suspended

As demonstrators enter their 44th hour at the encampment, 12 tents have been set up on the now-barricaded H Street, with several Georgetown students planning to spend the night. Over 100 demonstrators remain at GW’s University Yard and on H Street, with police presence slowly increasing. 

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Selina al-Shihabi (SFS ’26), an organizer who has remained in the encampment since Thursday, reported a generally positive atmosphere within the encampment, emphasizing the community that organizers and other demonstrators have built. 

“The community’s just amazing, and it feels really really good,” al-Shihabi said. “It’s a really, really positive energy in the encampment, you’re surrounded by people who don’t care about their future career because they understand saving lives in Gaza is more important, and those are the kind of people I want to be around.”

According to an Instagram post by GW’s Student Coalition for Palestine, GW officials suspended seven student organizers Friday, charging each with nine disciplinary violations, following initial warnings from university officials that they would risk suspension if the encampment was not cleared by 1 p.m. on Friday. The seven students reportedly risk losing their housing and credit hours for the semester. 

Students from GW and Georgetown arrived at the encampment to protest student suspensions, expressing outrage at the university’s retribution towards peaceful protest. 

“You’re suspending students for using their First Amendment right. Nothing about this is violent, nothing about this is confrontational, no one’s getting hurt, it’s basically a block party right now,” Savannah, a GW student outside the encampment who spoke to the Voice on the condition that her name not be shared, said. “So it’s just absurd to me that they would get suspended literally just for using their voices.”

The Washington Post reported at 7:40 p.m. Friday that GW officials had asked MPD to clear the encampment around 3 a.m. Friday morning. MPD and Senior D.C. officials in the mayor’s office reportedly declined to clear the encampment, as the Post reported concerns from MPD and the mayor’s office regarding the “optics” of removing students engaging in peaceful protest in the wake of alleged police brutality and unlawful arrests at other universities across the country. 

Gabe, a student from GW who who spoke to the Voice on the condition that his name not be shared, arrived at the protest in the evening, and plans on staying as long as possible in the event of police intervention.

“I want to be here to help protect the people in the encampment if necessary,” Gabe said. 

Elliot L. (SOH ’24), a Georgetown student who who spoke to the Voice on the condition that his name not be shared, has been at the protest for more than 12 hours. He spoke on accessibility at the demonstration as a wheelchair user. 

“When I’m thinking about protests, we choose locations based on where’s strategic, and that means sometimes where we are isn’t necessarily going to be physically accessible for a wheelchair user,” Elliot said. “The people have been really supportive in looking out and sort of creating this culture of collective access to make sure that we’re all here, we’re all showing up, so I’m actually just feeling really really supported by the community here.”

Photo by Eddy Binford-Ross

Al-Shihabi encouraged GU students to show up to the demonstration, despite fears about how an arrest would impact their future careers. 

“Georgetown students should know that they have the ability to create change,” al-Shihabi said. “I think Georgetown students need to care a lot less about themselves and care about the world that they’re in.” 

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to reflect that organizer Selina al-Shihabi has not been at the encampment consecutively since it was established. As previously reported, she spoke at Georgetown’s on-campus rally on Thursday morning before returning to University Yard.

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.

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.

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

Margaret Hartigan
Margaret is a senior in the college majoring in government with minors in Spanish and journalism. Her favorite study spot on campus is the Voice office or, in desperate times, the fifth floor of Lau with a large red eye. She is currently the Service Chair

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