Tensions rise on night four of GW encampment

Photo by Connor Martin

Tensions surged on the fourth night of the Gaza solidarity encampment at George Washington University on Sunday night and into Monday morning. Barricades surrounding the encampment at University Yard (U-Yard) have been knocked down by protesters, and tents that had previously been set up on H Street were moved onto the green. Confrontations between police and protesters escalated from the relatively stable point they had been at for several days, and police presence began to increase on H Street. 

The Gaza Solidarity encampment began early Thursday morning and grew significantly when students marching from Georgetown joined the crowd around noon that day. MPD and GW campus police barricaded the encampment on U-Yard from H Street on Friday morning. In response, protesters set up tents spilling onto H Street Friday evening as large numbers of demonstrators—both students and non-students—continued to join the ongoing protest, which has since remained largely without major incident.

Follow our live updates as they come in below:

Monday 12:38 p.m. update: GW releases statement condemning escalation of protests early Monday

A GW representative issued a press release at 6:30 a.m. following a night of escalated tensions at the encampment, during which protesters removed the police barricade blocking off U-Yard following an altercation between a GWPD officer and a GW student.

The statement asserted that the altercation was due to the student attempting to jump over the barricade into U-Yard. It said that the GWPD officer was escorting the student away from the demonstration, but did not make an arrest (organizers last night reported the officer attempting to arrest the student). According to the statement, approximately 200 protesters engaged in the barricade breach, among them students and non students.

The statement also condemned the protests, writing that the overnight escalation of protests “goes far beyond the boundaries of free expression.” The university promised to hold protesters involved with the barricade breach “accountable.”

As of this afternoon, the scene at the encampment is peaceful. The barricades remain piled in the center of U-Yard.

Monday 1:55 a.m. update: GU staff member recalls initial altercation between protesters and police

In an interview with the Voice, Akanksha Sinha (SFS ’23), who is a staff member at the Center for Social Justice at Georgetown and an organizer with Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, recounted what they saw when the escalation began around 11:00 p.m. Sunday night.

“Everything was peaceful, there was an open mic, everything was fine, I was sitting with some other staff and some of my friends on the side,” Sinha said. “At some point we started hearing ‘let him go,’ so we ran over to from there to the barricade and helped grab hold of a student who was being arrested. Cops were, like, a mixture of useless, dumb, and agitated.”

After enough pushing from protesters, the barricade came down, Sinha said. 

“I want to highlight that this entire escalation has happened because they chose to try and arrest a student.” 

They then described the increasing escalation at U-Yard. “After that we stormed inside, took over U-yard, put all the barricades in the center,” they said.

Sinha said that they felt it was their duty as staff at Georgetown to come out to the encampment and support students.

“For faculty and staff, what are you doing if you’re not here protecting your students? I don’t care what you believe, you need to be looking out for the students in your classes, the students in your care.”

Monday 12:47 a.m. update: Brief altercation prompts protesters to take down barricades, rush U-Yard

According to the Hatchet, shortly after 11:00 p.m. a confrontation between two protesters and GWPD officers began, leading to GWPD officers to grab at least one of the protesters. According to videos of the scene posted to social media, at this point the crowd began to chant “Let him go” until GWPD eventually released the protester. 

Organizers stated on an Instagram live stream by DMV Students for Justice in Palestine that they successfully “dearrested” the protester, although it is unclear whether he was under arrest when the GWPD officers grabbed him. 

Shortly after the confrontation between demonstrators and police, protesters began taking the barricades between H Street and U-Yard and piling them in the middle of U-Yard. As the crowd of 250 moved onto U-Yard, some protesters also began moving tents onto the green from the street. There are now 50 tents set up in U-Yard, as well as multiple Palestinian flags planted in the middle of the barricades.

Photo by Connor Martin

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

Cole Kindiger
Cole is a junior studying Journalism and American Studies. He enjoys rock climbing, people-watching, and reading impressive books in public places. When Cole isn't writing for the Voice, you can find him on Healy Lawn or sprawled across any couch on campus.

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.

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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