The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Editorial | The Pitt News Editorial Board condemns all violence at the University of Pittsburgh protests this week.

Protesters+face+police+officers+during+the+Palestine+Solidarity+Encampment+on+Sunday+night.%0A
Bhaskar Chakrabarti | Staff Photographer
Protesters face police officers during the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on Sunday night.

On Sunday, June 2, around 200 protesters reestablished a “Palestine solidarity encampment” on the Cathedral lawn and revised their demands to University leadership in regards to divestment from Israeli institutions and the dissolution of Hillel and the Student Coalition for Israel on campus. Two protests began across the street from one another before gathering on the Cathedral lawn around 5:30 p.m. Subsequently, the groups began to make camp and composed a barrier around tents. Throughout the evening and into the night, police began increasing their presence before constructing their own barrier around the camp at 9:30 p.m.

As of June 4, around 2 a.m., the protesters dispersed peacefully following negotiations with Mayor Ed Gainey’s office. 

On Sunday, when the protesters were setting up their camp, videos were recorded of the police officers confiscating the water and ice protesters. Videos of protesters outside of the police borders can be seen attempting to throw bottles of water across the boundaries and into the protesters’ camp, with protesters finding innovative ways to collect the supplies brought to them.

But more jarring than the police confiscating and removing a main source of sustenance, one needed to keep protesters from getting sick in the summer heat, is the violence that has been displayed at these protests the last few days. Protesters were seen getting pushed and shoved as police officers attempted to control and force the crowds away from the encampment. 

Another protester on Sunday was detained and forced to the ground by police officers. A video from Monday shows a protester running to the encampment with their guitar. While the individual does turn to the police officer to defend themself with the instrument, it is only after a police officer charges at the individual whose original destination was clearly the encampment and not to harm the officer in question. 

There are various examples of protesters fighting back with the police as well. One protester can be seen in a video published on Instagram early Monday morning getting pushed off a flight of stairs and hitting their head on the concrete. A large group of protesters can be seen swarming the police officer beforehand, with the officer electing to use force to push the protesters away. Only one individual appeared to have been injured from the altercation.

Protesters in a video taken on Monday afternoon can be seen fighting back and escalating the situation with the police inside and outside the encampment’s barrier. They attempt to break the barrier the police had set up and can be seen pushing the metal gates back and forth between the officer and fellow protesters in an attempt to overtake them.

The Pitt News Editorial Board condemns all violence at these demonstrations. Violence only serves to escalate tensions and detracts from the important messages that protesters are trying to convey. Peaceful protests are a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution and one our very own Chancellor claims to have the desire to maintain. Protests are a powerful tool for social change and should never be met with aggression. Clearly, it must be said that we must learn from the past — time and time again, we see that this kind of force can lead to unnecessary injuries and further inflame already volatile situations.

We implore all sides — but in particular, the police officers who have access to weapons and whose presence provides comfort to no individual protesting for Palestine — to maintain a commitment to nonviolence.

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