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Campus Police Arrest Protesters at Cal Poly Humboldt

As student protests roiled many American campuses, the campus police at California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, made arrests on Monday night and attempted to disperse pro-Palestinian demonstrators who have occupied a campus building for over a week.

The protesters took over Siemens Hall, which includes the university president’s office, last Monday and renamed it “Intifada Hall.” They fought an early attempt by the police to remove them and have rejected increasingly strong entreaties from officials to leave the building.

On Monday night, the campus police at the university, which is known as Cal Poly Humboldt, began trying to dispel the protesters, using loudspeakers to call for the roughly 150 people outside the building to leave and declaring the protest an “unlawful assembly.” The protesters chanted and sang, with some linking arms in front of the building.

Police officers arrested and handcuffed at least five people. On Tuesday morning, about 50 remained outside the hall.

After taking over the hall last week, protesters set up dozens of tents on lawns around it, and also took over a second building. In response, the university shut down its entire campus, which is more than 275 miles north of San Francisco.

The protesters have made several demands, including that the school disclose its investments in companies doing business in Israel, divest from companies profiting from military action in Gaza, cut ties with Israeli universities and drop charges against three students who were arrested at the start of the protests. They also want the university to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Cal Poly Humboldt leaders said on Friday that they were making “a good-faith effort to respond” to the demands. Hours later they told the students occupying the buildings that they had a brief “opportunity to leave with a guarantee of no immediate arrest.” On Sunday night, the president’s team asked the students to “leave the campus peacefully now,” but this time with no offer of immunity.

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