New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Students abroad organize sit-ins to support those arrested in Gaza Solidarity Encampment

The demonstrations, organized at NYU Berlin and NYU Buenos Aires, called on the university to suspend ties to Israel and protect those arrested at Monday’s encampment from any disciplinary action.
Danny Arensberg
Students put up posters in NYU Berlin’s main academic center on April 24. (Danny Arensberg for WSN)

Around 40 students at NYU Berlin and NYU Buenos Aires occupied the sites’ main academic centers on Thursday to support the students and faculty arrested at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in Gould Plaza earlier this week. 

At both sites, protesters called on NYU to cut its ties with Israel, protect academic freedom, remove police presence from its Washingon Square campus and pardon students and faculty facing disciplinary action for pro-Palestinian speech.

In Argentina, around 20 students laid blankets on the floor of the academic center’s lobby at 8 a.m., where they read Palestinian poetry and presented on Palestinian history. Demonstrators also sent emails to administrators condemning NYU’s involvement of the New York City Police Department and the subsequent arrests at Gould Plaza. Students chanted “libre, libre, libre Palestina. Palestina libre sin agresión sionista,” which translates to “free, free, free Palestine. Free Palestine without Zionist aggression.”

Students also put up posters with pictures of the Palestinian flag and excerpts from Palestinian poetry, with some also reading “free Gaza” and “NYU funds genocide,” on the walls of the site’s academic center. Staff working at the center told students that putting posters on the walls violated building regulations, requesting they take them down.

A poster that reads “All Eyes on Rafah” on N.Y.U. Buenos Aires signage hanging from a fireplace.
Students put up posters in NYU Buenos Aires’ main academic center on April 24. (Courtesy photo by Britney Quiroz)

Sophomore Sariah Vaioleti, an organizer of the sit-in and spokesperson for the NYU Buenos Aires chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, said that after protesters were arrested at Monday’s encampment, students at the study away site discussed how they could support those involved. Vaioleti said that faculty and staff at the site also supported the sit-in.

“We, the students of NYU Buenos Aires, stand in solidarity with the global movement for a free Palestine, and therefore a liberated world,” Vaioleti said. “We protest our campuses direct investment and involvement in Israel’s facilitation of a Palestinian genocide, as well as NYU’s administration’s direct attack on the PSC coalition, students right to protest and free speech. In attacking the PSC coalition students, faculty and community members rights, they also attack ours.”

At NYU’s study abroad program in Berlin, students gathered at 9 a.m. before the beginning of classes and hung posters that read “solidarity with Gaza” and “every university in Gaza is a graveyard NYU funds.”  

Faculty at NYU Berlin told students that some of the phrases on the posters were in violation of German law — which bans incitement of hatred against individuals’ racial, national and religious background — and a security guard removed two of the posters. One faculty member told demonstrators that posters could not include messaging that “denies Israel’s right to resistance” or refers to the war in Gaza as an “apartheid” or “genocide.” 

Many of the student-made posters at NYU Berlin used an image of NYU president Linda Mills. (Danny Arensberg for WSN)

Students also placed photos of NYU president Linda Mills around the academic center and wrote phrases such as “Linda kills” over her face. Faculty also took down several photos that had horns drawn on Mills’ head. 

The demonstrations at the university’s abroad sites come amid protests in response to the over 120 arrests made at Gould Plaza on Monday, criticizing the administration’s response to the encampment. The university said that protesters, many of whom it says appeared not to be affiliated with NYU, “breached the barriers” outside the plaza during the encampment and that there were “intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported” at the protest.

The NYU chapter of the American Association of University Professors challenged the university’s account of events, saying there was “no breach in the barriers by non-NYU ID-holding people,” and that there were no instances of violent or antisemitic incidents from those inside the plaza. 

Protesters have also been calling on NYU to divest from companies with connections to Israel. A university spokesperson told WSN that it would not consider divestment because it is trying to maximize returns on its endowment to “help the university fulfill its research and educational mission.”

“At the end of the day they’re picking and choosing students that they want to be violent against,” a NYU Berlin student, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, told WSN, referencing Mill’s universitywide statement in response to Monday’s encampment. “They were not a danger to anybody, they were a danger to a narrative they’re trying to protect and that it’s cowardly. It was the weakest possible thing they could have done. None of those students should be criminalized for sending a message.”

A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Contact Christian Romero, Danny Arsenberg and Liam Hibbert at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Danny Arensberg
Danny Arensberg, Photo Editor
Danny Arensberg is a junior majoring in photography and imaging at Tisch School of the Arts. With a primary focus on photojournalism and current affairs, he is constantly chasing breaking news within New York City. Covering everything from politics to protests on a wide range of topics, he never is not far from his camera. If he is not tiring himself out through photojournalism, you can find him running endlessly through Manhattan on any given day or falling off his skateboard. You can find him on Instagram @dannyarensberg and contact him at [email protected].

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