NYU said it 'did not need to lead to this' after anti-Israel protesters arrested

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After an anti-Israel protest escalated at New York University on Monday – requiring city police presence – the university released a statement explaining while it supports students’ rights to protest, safety remains its priority.

This comes after the New York City Police Department arrested numerous people following a request from NYU for police to clear Gould Plaza of people refusing orders to leave the area, including many suspected of having no affiliation with the university.

“Today’s events did not need to lead to this outcome,” NYU spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement.

Mass arrests began around 8:30 p.m. and, within an hour, the demonstration had largely fizzled out. The university is one of several campuses nationwide that has been embroiled in protests against Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.


Mass arrests at the university began around 8:30 p.m.

Mass arrests at New York University began around 8:30 p.m. Monday following an anti-Israel protest on campus. (Julia Bonavita/Fox News Digital)

Roughly 50 anti-Israel protesters started a demonstration on the plaza in front of the business school Monday morning without notice or authorization from NYU, according to Beckman.

The university closed access to the plaza, placed barriers and emphasized that it would not allow additional protesters to join the demonstration because it was already “considerably disruptive of classes and other operations in schools around the plaza,” Beckman said.

“Nonetheless we made no move to clear the plaza at that point because high among the University’s aims was to avoid any escalation or violence,” Beckman said. “So, the University was deeply disturbed when, early this afternoon, additional protesters, many of whom we believe were not affiliated with NYU, suddenly breached the barriers that had been put in place at the north side of the plaza and joined the others already on the plaza. This breach was in violation of directions from Campus Safety Officers and in violation of multiple University rules.”

“This development dramatically changed the situation,” he continued. “We witnessed disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing behavior that has interfered with the safety and security of our community, and that demonstrated how quickly a demonstration can get out of control or people can get hurt.”


The university told protesters that they needed to leave the plaza by 4 p.m. for there to be no consequences from the school or police.

Many protesters still refused to leave, and the university was made aware of “intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents.”

NYPD arrests student protesters on the campus of NYU.

Officers with the NYPD arrested numerous people participating in an anti-Israel protest on the campus of NYU on Monday. (Julia Bonavita/Fox News Digital)

In response to these reports and safety issues raised by the breach, the university requested assistance from the NYPD, who initially urged people on the plaza to leave peacefully before ultimately making several arrests.

“We will continue to support individuals’ right to freedom of expression, and, as we have said since October, the safety of our students and maintaining an equitable learning environment remain paramount,” Beckman said, referring to the initial response to protests following Hamas terrorists’ Oct. 7 attack against Israel, which started the ongoing war in the Middle East.

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