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Student protest wave hits UGA, arrests made

The nationwide student movement protesting the war in Gaza has reached the UGA campus, resulting in the arrests of several people.

Not much anti-war chanting could be heard at the protesters’ encampment this morning. A swift response by university authorities sent protestors hurrying to gather their belongings and leave the area. By 9:30, tents and snacks had been cleared away by university officials and police officers, and many protesters, wearing keffiyehs and face masks, were quickly leaving the scene.

As the makeshift camp was being dismantled, about 10 protesters were detained and searched in a parking lot near Herty Field. They were largely calm as the UGA police processed and placed them in a marked van. As of around noon, 11 people had been arrested by UGA authorities and booked into the Clarke County jail, charged with criminal trespass.

One student, their hands twisted behind their back in zip ties, flashed a peace sign as the police escorted them to the van. Once all the arrested protestors were searched and cleared, the police slammed the doors shut and drove away.

At around 10 am, UGA President Jere W Morehead issued a statement, announcing that while the university supports students’ right to free speech, the protestors were arrested for trespassing. The statement also noted that the protestors failed to hold the protest in approved areas. The policy banning encampments on campus dates back several decades, to the first Gulf War in the 1990s.

For other students, life continued as normal as they posed for graduation photos near parked police cars and rang the Chapel Bell.

For WUGA News, I’m Emma Auer.