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Pro-Palestinian protestors

Source: WISH-TV / other

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Pro-Palestine protests have spread to several different colleges across the United States, including Indiana University.

Thirty-three protesters, including students and staff, were arrested Thursday after refusing to take down tents on Dunn Meadows. IU policy, updated only one day before the protest, says tents cannot be set-up. The people arrested Thursday are also banned from IU’s campus for one year, including students and staff.

ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Chris Daley has issued a statement in response:

“Free speech and political protest are essential components of a healthy democracy. It is alarming that a decades-old IU-Bloomington policy would be specifically changed on the morning of, and in response to, a planned protest against the State of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians It is further troubling that University officials and Indiana State Police moved in with force only hours after the protest began without any articulation of an imminent risk to public safety. None of these actions are in line with our nation’s free speech principles.

“Worse still are the notices that some protesters received banning them from entering the IU-Bloomington campus for one year. ACLU of Indiana is concerned that these suspensions, which act as a de facto suspension from current and future classes, were issued without due process and are disproportionate.

“I recognize the enormous pressure being exerted by elected officials and media personalities on public higher education administrators in our state and nationwide. However, they must resist pressure to restrict or prohibit student protest – even on contentious issues – and adhere to their stated commitment to free speech, peaceful protest, and dissent on campus. Public higher education administrators stand on the front lines of free speech in this country; I urge them to use that position to protect the constitutional rights of everyone on their campuses.”

Protests continued Friday, with more tents set-up, which was followed by another warning from Indiana State Police.

Talking to reporters Friday, Governor Eric Holcomb said police will continue to work, “the Indiana State Police will of course continue to do their job. And that is to serve and protect all and make sure that protests can occur and the freedom to speak out for and against issues that may be emotional in nature. But there will be law and order.”

Governor Holcomb says even peaceful protests can disrupt, and locals have to “play by the rules like everybody else has to.”