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Palestine Protests at USC, Northeastern End Peacefully

Students protesting the war in Gaza abandoned their camp at the University of Southern California early Sunday after being surrounded by police and threatened with arrest, while Northeastern University’s commencement ended peacefully at Boston’s Fenway Park. Developments in both places were being watched closely after scores of arrests last month — more than 90 at USC and about 100 at Northeastern, the Associated Press reports. However, Columbia University cancelled its main commencement ceremony, although will hold separate events at each of its 19 colleges. In Los Angeles on Sunday, dozens of police officers arrived about 4 a.m. at USC to assist campus safety officers. The university had warned of arrests on social media and in person. Video showed some protesters packing up and leaving, while officers formed lines to push others away from the camp as it emptied out. The university said there were no reports of any arrests. USC President Carol Folt said it was time to draw a line because “the occupation was spiraling in a dangerous direction” with areas of campus blocked and people being harassed.

“The operation was peaceful,” Folt wrote. “Campus is opening, students are returning to prepare for finals, and commencement set-up is in full swing.” USC earlier canceled its main graduation ceremony while allowing other commencement activities to continue. Across town at the University of California Los Angeles, officials announced the creation of a new chief safety officer position to oversee campus security operations. The announcement Sunday came after UCLA was criticized for its handling of demonstrations that culminated in a mob attack on a pro-Palestinian student encampment last week. At the Northeastern commencement Sunday, some students waved small Palestinian and Israeli flags, but were outnumbered by those waving the flags of India and the U.S., among others. Undergraduate student speaker Rebecca Bamidele drew brief cheers when she called for peace in Gaza. The AP has tallied about 2,500 people arrested at about 50 campuses since April 18.


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