Seven GU students arrested in GW encampment sweep

May 9, 2024

Photo by Connor Martin

Seven Georgetown students were among those arrested early Wednesday morning when police cleared the Gaza solidarity encampment at George Washington University (GW), according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) records.

Police made 33 total arrests in the area of University Yard between 3:30 and 3:48 a.m. on Wednesday, MPD confirmed to the Voice—though arrest records obtained by the Voice show 32, an MPD official noted one was left off the arrest log because they were a minor. The Voice was able to verify that seven are undergraduates at Georgetown. For privacy reasons, their names will not be published at this time.

Twenty-nine of the arrested protesters, including all seven Georgetown students, were charged with unlawful entry, according to police records and an MPD spokesperson. Four others were charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer. 

Hours before the since-canceled congressional hearing where Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD chief Pamela Smith were set to field questions on why they had not yet ordered police to clear the encampment, MPD officers did just that, giving three warnings before entering and arresting protesters who refused to leave. 

Videos also show MPD officers pepper spraying the crowd, prompting them to disperse. Multiple protesters on the scene told the Voice that the crowd had been pushing to get closer to the protesters being arrested when they were sprayed. Multiple Georgetown students were among those who were pepper sprayed, they told the Voice

In a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday afternoon, Miriam Siegel (CAS ’26), who was arrested and subsequently released that morning, said that beyond the pepper spray, officers shoved protesters to the ground, ripped off hijabs, and did not follow procedure in arresting one protester who was in a wheelchair.

“MPD stated just this morning that their actions are guided by a commitment to safety,” Siegel said. “They’ve demonstrated otherwise.”

According to a post by the Student Coalition for Palestine at GWU, all protesters were released from jail by noon on Wednesday.

D.C. Code states that convictions for unlawful entry and misdemeanor assault on a police officer both carry a maximum punishment of a $1,000 fine, a 180 day prison sentence, or both.

Georgetown’s code of conduct stipulates that violations of local laws which occur off-campus “are also considered violations of the Code of Student Conduct and may be subject to internal University investigation, review and action.” The university has not confirmed whether students involved will face disciplinary action. 

Sydney Carroll, Katie Doran, and Margaret Hartigan contributed reporting.

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.

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