UChicago pro-Palestinian encampment marks 1 week; tensions run high amid dueling protests at DePaul

ByStephanie Wade, Tre Ward, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, May 6, 2024
UChicago encampment marks 1 week; DePaul dueling protests become tense
A UChicago pro-Palestinian encampment marked one week Sunday, while tensions ran high amid dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests at DePaul.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Demonstrators are remaining unmoved in Hyde Park Sunday after what they called failed negotiations with the University of Chicago.

Meanwhile, DePaul University issued an alert on Sunday morning asking students to avoid the Lincoln Park Quad amid dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests.

Demonstrators on the UChicago campus called on more people to come out in support. The encampment remains put for a seventh night as a call to action looms.

"We know that we're the majority on campus and that people are going to show up and keep fighting," UChicago Pro-Palestinian protester Andrew Basta said.

After meeting Sunday, student demonstrators said negotiations with the university's president are making little progress.

"There's been certain, like, agreements but have not been conditional on how the negotiations end, I think, around Palestinian scholars coming and finding refuge and having jobs and housing here in Chicago, but were quite minimal in the grand scheme of things," Basta said.

One of the agreements made to decrease the presence of campus police has faced backlash from some Jewish students.

The President of UChicago's Maroons for Israel issued a statement, calling the decision "a concerning disregard for student safety."

They are calling on the University to "end the encampment before protestors escalate further."

It was on this same campus when counter-protesters, Friday, confronted demonstrators occupying the quad. The university's president, at the time, said the encampment cannot continue.

How, when or if UChicago plans to intervene is still unknown.

DePaul protest update: As the pro-Palestinian DePaul encampment continued for a sixth day, pro-Israel protesters showed up at the Lincoln Park Quad.

Across the city, tensions ran high on the sixth day of the pro-Palestinian encampment at DePaul as dozens of pro-Israel demonstrators showed up to counter-protest.

Counter-protesters said they wanted to stand up for Israel and combat what's happening on college campuses across the country.

"Somebody has to stand up to this. This is unconscionable. It's intolerable," said Israel supporter Sam Seleski.

As the pro-Palestinian DePaul encampment continues for a sixth day, pro-Israel protesters showed up at the Lincoln Park Quad.

Dozens of Chicago police officers lined the sidewalk outside of the quad, standing in between both sides to prevent further escalation.

Officers said protesters were throwing things at one another and getting physical at one point.

"The students are not instigating whatsoever. We are simply peaceful protesting, and you have the other side, fully adults, non-students chanting Islamophobic statements at us while we're simply protesting for divestment from our university," said Henna Aiyash, a DePaul student and pro-Palestinian demonstrator.

At one point, DePaul said students on campus should remain inside. The school later said students can leave their buildings, but asked them to continue to avoid the quad and Fullerton Avenue.

At 3:10 p.m., the school posted another update, saying the situation had been stabilized, and all exits adjacent to the quad had reopened.

Pro-Israel protesters also showed up at the encampment on Thursday. At times, confrontations were heated.

Meanwhile, on the other side of campus, Jewish students held their own rally, away from the encampment, they said, in order to not instigate any further.

"On Tuesday, we had this counter-protest and it was very heated and it was just a lot of hate. So what we're doing now is we're trying to spread love," said Lily Hecht, a DePaul student and pro-Israel demonstrator.

"On campus, it's been wildly antisemitic. We can't even write bring them home without being attacked verbally or honestly like physically harassed, as well. We've had students be pushed, we've had students tell us go back to Poland. I've had to hide my chain at certain points on campus," said Michael, a DePaul student and pro-Israel demonstrator.

Despite the tense moments earlier, ABC7 crews did not see anyone get arrested or injured.