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Monday, May 20, 2024

Pro-Palestine protest day three: Protesters rebuild encampment after police remove tents

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department (UWPD)  ordered pro-Palestine protesters to remove their tents on Library Mall Wednesday morning, warning protesters who interfere with the removal will face “law enforcement action.”

At 6:52 a.m., UWPD gave protesters 15 minutes to remove the tents before they would be removed by police. Protesters have linked arms to prevent police from removing the encampment.

Police later cleared much of the encampment and pushed into the group of demonstrators, who held hands and linked into a human chain to resist officer advances. Officers arrested nearly three dozen people, four of whom were booked at the Dane County Jail. A majority of those arrested were released with no citation.

The tents, part of a protest organized by UW-Madison Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Young Democratic Socialists of America, remained over their second night in violation of Wisconsin state law against camping on university land without university permission. 

Although police confiscated nearly all tent equipment Wednesday morning, protesters quickly rebuilt the tent encampment.

Read Monday's coverage of the encampment here and Tuesday's coverage here




[11:22 p.m. CDT] The Cardinal ends Wednesday live blog

By Noe Goldhaber

It is 11:22 p.m. on the third day of UW-Madison's Liberated Zone. Pro-Palestine protesters have begun returning back to their tents and are quietly chatting on the lawn as they prepare for the fourth day of protests.

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There are roughly 20 tents on Library Mall. A group of pro-Israel counter-protesters who previously gathered near the encampment have since left Library Mall.  

The live blog for Wednesday has ended. We will be back tomorrow reporting on Library Mall.




[9:30 p.m. CDT] ASM releases statement

By Noe Goldhaber

The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) released a statement defending protesters in the encampment and condemning the UW-Madison administration's decision to remove the encampment.

“We urge university administration to leave our students alone. We stand with our students and defend their right to free expression under the first amendment,” the statement read. “ASM applauds our students for standing up for what they believe in and advocates for their right to protest peacefully.” 

The statement also criticized Memorial Union stationing arrested protesters.

“The decision to use Memorial Union — a space funded in part by our student segregated fees — as a holding space for detainment is the antithesis of the needs of the student body,” the statement said.

The statement also called on the administration to not charge any protesters and for UWPD to commit to ensuring student safety.

“We welcome the input of any student that would like to provide feedback and/or hold us accountable in meeting these goals,” the statement said.

ASM recently passed legislation to reform the UWPD Police Advisory Committee after they failed to meet for six months. 




[9:10 PM CDT] Students with Israeli flags dance on Library Mall

By Mary Bosch and Noe Goldhaber

A group of roughly 60 students arrived at Library Mall with Israeli flags and a speaker. The group continues to play loud music and dance. In response, pro-Palestine protesters started chanting “free, free Palestine.”


Israel Flag Counter Protestors-1.jpg
A group of roughly 60 students with Israeli flags play music and dance on Library Mall on May 1, 2024.


Ezra Rosenthal, a Jewish student, said the encampment was illegal. When asked if any behaviors from protesters made students feel unsafe, he said “it makes us feel unsafe that it is tolerated.”

Additionally, UW Hillel released a statement before the counter-protesters arrived, condemning the pro-Palestine encampment, saying it “has fostered heightened fear, insecurity, and harassment of Jewish students” on campus. 

The statement also said some students have reported that their teachers have used “dog whistles, used their positions of authority in a manner that is inappropriate, and offensive and crosses policies and best practices for an institution of higher learning.”




[6:05 p.m. CDT] Communist group joins protest

By Bryna Goeking

The Revolutionary Communists of America have joined the protest, marching down State Street. 




[5:46 p.m. CDT] Mnookin declines negotiations today, protester says 

By Amari Mbongwo

Protest organizers attempted to schedule a meeting with Mnookin, following the police raid this morning, according to a protest speaker. Mnookin declined a meeting today but agreed to meet tomorrow, the speaker said.




[5:45 p.m. CDT] Faculty member expresses support for protests

By Bryna Goeking

Annie Menzel, associate professor of Gender and Women’s studies, recalled her experience of this morning’s events to the Cardinal, as well as the inspiration for faculty signs.

Menzel arrived at Library Mall around 8 a.m. and said she experienced the hostility of the police alongside her colleagues.

“The police were pushing shields over our chests and faces, trying to shove us back with a lot of aggression,” she said.

Menzel joined the crowd that marched from State Street to Library Mall around 5:30 p.m. holding a faculty support sign.

“We support our students as creative, amazing human beings and a part of our collective and our community,” she said. “State violence toward them like that, which the chancellor ordered this morning, is absolutely unconscionable and violent.”




[5:30 p.m. CDT] Pro-Palestine group marches from Capitol to Library Mall

By Amari Mbongwo and Bryna Goeking

Around 5:20 p.m., a group of pro-Palestine protesters began marching down State Street beginning at the Wisconsin state Capitol.

The group of around 100 marched toward Library Mall, holding signs saying “Hands off Gaza! Hands off our Students!” and “UW Faculty & Staff say hands off our students.”

The group was greeted at Library Mall with cheers from protesters and a trumpet horn.


Pro Palestine Protest Day 3-12.jpg
The Madison Chapter of Democratic Socialists march into the pro-Palestine protest at Library Mall on May 1, 2024.




[3:50 p.m. CDT] Campus police release names of four booked at county jail

By Bryna Goeking, Annika Bereny and Tomer Ronen

UWPD released the names of the four protesters booked into the Dane County Jail, including one UW-Madison student.

Freshman Leo Randle was charged with battery to a police officer and resisting arrest.




[2:25 p.m. CDT] Faculty member gives talk on organized labor 

By Annika Bereny

The UW Liberated Zone held a teach-in titled, “No Borders in the Labor Struggle: Solidarity, Anti-Imperialism, and Liberation Struggles” at 2 p.m.

Today is May Day, or International Workers Day, an international day of solidarity and celebration for laborers and the working class. 

Speaker Lola Loustaunau, an assistant professor from the School for Workers, UW-Madison’s labor education program, spoke on international solidarity for Palestine among workers. Loustaunau cited previous examples of Italian and Belgian dock workers refusing to ship materials to Israel.

“Organized workers around the world have led and aided struggles for liberation,” Loustaunau said. “More and more members of organized labor have made calls not only for a ceasefire but for a free Palestine.”




[12:01 p.m. CDT] Nearly three dozen protesters arrested, campus police say

By Tomer Ronen

Four protesters were booked into the Dane County Jail and a total of 34 people were arrested this morning, according to an email by UWPD Spokesperson Marc Lovicott.

A majority of the arrested were released with no citation, according to Lovicott.




[12:00 p.m. CDT] UW System President Jay Rothman releases statement

By Kodie Engst

Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman praised law enforcement action on Library Mall this morning in a statement. The involvement resulted in arrests of both students and faculty members present on Library Mall and the dismantling of all but two tents. More tents have now been put up.

“I commend Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin for her reasonableness and resolve, as well as her commitment to free expression and the safety and security of her students,” Rothman said. 

Universities of Wisconsin values the free speech and freedom of expression of members of the university community through legal protest, according to Rothman.




[11:05 a.m. CDT] Campus-area alder 'appalled' by police use of force

By Gavin Escott

District 8 Ald. MGR Govindarajan said in a statement he was “disappointed and appalled to see the unnecessary use of force” and the police’s actions were “beyond what was necessary.” 

Govindarajan, who was pushed out of the Fluno Center Monday night by UWPD, said he had been on campus since Monday facilitating communication between law enforcement and protesters. He added that today's events would “leave a stain on UW’s legacy.”




[11:00 a.m. CDT] State ACLU criticizes police crackdown

By Gavin Escott

In a statement, ACLU of Wisconsin criticized law enforcement for “needlessly escalating” the situation by arresting and using physical force against peaceful protesters. The organization said inviting armed police into campus protest environments creates “unacceptable risks” for students, faculty and staff and cited a history of law enforcement using “inappropriate and excessive force” on students of color. 

“Non-violent, peaceful acts of civil disobedience have always been an instrumental part of social movements, and students should not be sanctioned for them, much less subjected to excessive, hostile policing or destruction of their property,” the ACLU said.




[11:00 a.m. CDT] UWPD, State Patrol officers sustain injuries, UWPD says

By Gavin Escott

UWPD Spokesperson Marc Lovicott said in an email to the Cardinal that four police officers were injured due to “physical resistance from protesters.” He said a State Patrol trooper also sustained injuries when a protester struck their head with a skateboard.




[10:55 a.m. CDT] Mnookin releases statement

By Noe Goldhaber

Mnookin said she authorized the clearing of the encampment this morning in a statement to the campus community.

Mnookin said UWPD gave several warnings to protesters. She said 30 protesters were cited and several others resisted police action to remove tents.

“Now that the illegal activity has been resolved, students and others are free to resume peaceful protest that abides by campus protest guidelines today or at any time in the future,” the statement said.

Mnookin also elaborated on the difference between free expression and ‘lawlessness’.

“Civil disobedience has been a time-honored tradition in our nation, including here. Yet it is a long-standing element of the civil disobedience tradition to respect the laws we share to accept that there are consequences for violating them,” the statement said. “It is this that distinguishes civil disobedience from mere lawlessness.”

Mnookin can authorize encampments on UW-Madison property.

UWPD did not remove two tents, and 13 are now up.


Sinn_Day_3_Protest-02.jpg


“As long as protests abide by campus and state rules and policies, members of my leadership stand ready to continue to listen to the concerns of the members of our community involved in this week’s protests,” the statement said.

Mnookin also said bias reports “involving individuals from outside of our campus community” were a motivation for attempting to remove the encampment.

“The presence of non-community members, including, reportedly, several highly aggressive individuals, is one of the predictable harms of an encampment like the one illegally staged on our campus and is one of the reasons we chose to act today,” the statement said.




[10:24 a.m. CDT] Professor arrested by police says he was targeted

By Amari Mbongwo and Annika Bereny

Professor Samer Alatout, who was arrested by UWPD, said he was targeted when police arrived at Library Mall this morning.

“They absolutely pointed at me and said ‘we want him, grab him,’ and they charged,” Alatout said. 

After his arrest, Alatout was left with cuts and bruises on his face. He said he felt a hit on his head when the police put him on the ground to arrest him. 

“They hit me with several things and with the shields several times in several places, they threw me to the ground a few times,” Alatout said.

Even after his arrest, Alatout said he believes it is his responsibility to protect his students.

“​​When someone is threatening the students, I protect them emotionally, intellectually, their freedom of speech — and then in the end, physically — because the students are our future,” Alatout said.

Alatout said his trust in the university has weakened. 

“I was probably one of the optimistic ones, in the sense that they know us, we know them, we talked to them,” he said. “They acknowledge a lot of the stuff that we say, and yet they direct their police force to do this to us, faculty, staff and students.”

Alatout said he believes it will take time for the students and faculty to rebuild trust with the administration.

“Rebuilding trust will take a long time, and it will take real effort from the administration,” Alatout said.




[10:20 a.m. CDT] TAA says it will defend any grad workers who face discipline

By Gavin Escott

Madeline Topf, co-president of the UW-Madison Teaching Assistant Association (TAA) told the Cardinal the union is prepared to represent UW graduate workers facing disciplinary or investigative meetings as a result of peaceful protesting. 

“Your union has your back,” the TAA said.



[10:17 a.m. CDT] UW professor arrested, now at hospital for injuries

By Noe Goldhaber

Sami Schalk, a professor of gender and women’s studies, was arrested this morning. She has been released and is at the hospital, according to her Twitter.





[10:08 a.m. CDT] 12 protesters have been arrested, according to UWPD

By Noe Goldhaber

Twelve people were arrested this morning, according to a statement from UWPD.

“Multiple tents were taken down and disassembled to remove the encampment. There were no immediate reports of injuries,” the statement said.

“UWPD remains on scene to ensure any continuing protests remain safe and lawful,” the statement said. 




[10:05 a.m. CDT] SJP will 'continue fighting' after police crackdown

By Bryna Goeking

SJP graduate student and media liaison Dahlia Saba spoke to the Cardinal about this morning’s events.

Saba said she was “not surprised” by the law enforcement this morning and that she is disappointed university administration has not decided to authorize the encampments.

“I think that goes to show that the issue here is not the means of protest itself, it is the message of the protest,” Saba said. “I’m incredibly upset and incredibly angry. When they say protecting students, what they mean is putting more cops on campus.”  

Saba said the protesters will not let the violence intimidate them. She would not disclose details of future plans, but that the protesters plan to continue a peaceful protest, 

“We will be prepared to continue fighting,” Saba said.




[9:47 a.m. CDT] Student body leader calls police crackdown 'not acceptable'

By Nicholas Sinn

ASM Chair Dominic Zappia told the Cardinal he watched peaceful students get attacked by police officers after they were given a 10 minute warning. 

“This is not indicative of the university we want to be, this is not how we want to conduct ourselves,” Zappia said. “It is not acceptable what UWPD did to our students today, and we are going to make sure that this does not continue.”




[9:43 a.m. CDT] Protest Support Team attempts to engage with protesters

By Bryna Goeking and Nicholas Sinn 

Dean Olstad and Argyle Wade, chief of staff for the vice chancellor for student affairs, returned to the Library Mall and were immediately booed by protesters. 

“Shame on you,” the protesters said.

The two were escorted away by three UWPD officers. 




[9:31 a.m. CDT] SJP leaders intend to stay, UWPD answers questions

By Noe Goldhaber and Gabriella Hartlaub

An SJP media spokesperson just said that the protesters will remain on Library Mall. She said they will be getting more tents. 

There are two tents standing.

UWPD spokesperson Marc Lovicott answered questions from reporters in front of the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

“We welcome students' constitutional right to protest,” he said. 


marclovicott.jpg




[9:20 a.m. CDT] University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee encampment is still up

By Gavin Escott

A spokesperson for UW-Milwaukee told the Cardinal the university was aware of the events at UW-Madison, but didn’t answer if they had plans to deploy police to remove their campus encampments, which are similarly violating state law. 

The spokesperson said UWM Police would continue monitoring the encampments and the university administration was working towards a peaceful resolution.




[9:05 a.m. CDT] Police proceed to Memorial Union

By Anna Kleiber and Noe Goldhaber

Some police officers have gone to Memorial Union. Protesters followed the officers to a door outside Memorial Union and started chanting.

Some officers are at the Red Gym.




[9:03 a.m. CDT] Police leave Library Mall following crackdown

By Anna Kleiber and Noe Goldhaber

Police officers are leaving Library Mall. It is unclear if they will return.




[8:56 a.m. CDT] Two UW-Madison profs detained

By Gabriella Hartlaub and Anna Kleiber

UW-Madison professors Sami Schalk and Kelly Ward were detained as the protest continues. Schalk has been outspoken in her support of the protesters, even raising money for supplies yesterday. 

There is one tent remaining on Library Mall. 




[8:43 a.m. CDT] Palestinian-American professor says he was singled out by police

By Anna Kleiber

UW-Madison professor Samer Alatout told the Cardinal police singled him out for arrest and said “we want him, this professor.” 

He said it’s “shameful” that officers came to a peaceful protest wearing riot gear.

“UW probably [will], in the next twenty years, come back and revisit this and apologize for it, but for now they are acting in a fascist form,” Alatout said.




[8:38 a.m. CDT]  UWPD confiscates tents, sleeping bags

By Bryna Goeking

UWPD are taking all tents, sleeping bags and blankets to dispose of in a truck located near Memorial Union, but they are leaving personal belongings on Library Mall, a UWPD officer told the Cardinal. 




[8:36 a.m. CDT] Protesters sit down, police remain

By Gabriella Hartlaub

Protesters have taken a seat while doing various chants. Police have made no further action since the initial arrests.


Police have removed all but two tents.




[8:25 a.m. CDT] Police shove, push students to the ground

By Annika Bereny

Students have been shoved and pushed to the ground as police have approached the encampments to take them down. 




[8:21 a.m. CDT] Protester delivers arrest account

By Bryna Goeking

One student taken into custody, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave her perspective to the Cardinal. 

She was sleeping in her tent when people warned her police had arrived. 

“We come out to circle and [the police] take down our stuff and push through. Knock people down. People are bleeding, clothes are ripped,” she said.

Upon being taken into Memorial Union, she was not read her Miranda rights. She was allowed to leave, so long as she did not return to Library Mall. 

“They told me not to go back today,” she said. “That I was ejected and if I go back, I will be arrested and go to jail.”




[8:15 a.m. CDT] Arrested students brought into Memorial Union

By Bryna Goeking

Students were taken in zip-tie handcuffs from Library Mall to a locking dock in Memorial Union. Even as those under custody were being brought in, they continued to chant “Free, free Palestine.”

At least six students were taken into custody. 




[8:08 a.m. CDT] MPD joins campus police

Madison Police officers have joined UWPD officers on Library Mall.




[7:57 a.m. CDT] Some faculty fume over decision to send in police

On Twitter, multiple UW-Madison staff members have criticized UW leadership's decision to send in the police. Joe Mason, a Geography Professor, called the decision “shameful,” calling the “no tents” rule a “ridiculous pretext.” 

Dr. Sami Schalk, an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, called for more encampment bodies and called UW-Madison “cowards” for deploying police at a time when the protest is mostly students and not faculty and staff.




[7:45 a.m. CDT] Police circulating encampments

Police officers have extended their line of shields.

Protesters are chanting “the world is watching.”




[7:35 a.m. CDT] Vos praises Mnookin for police deployment

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, praised Mnookin for “enforcing campus policies and standing up to the unruly mob.”




[7:19 a.m. CDT] Police dressed in riot gear at peaceful protest

UWPD has approached a circle of protesters. There are at least 50 police officers including state patrol. They have begun removing tents on the other side of Library Mall.

They have also removed the food and supplies housed in the “People’s Kitchen” which protesters used to distribute food and supplies.

“I don’t see no riot here, why are you in riot gear,” the protestors are chanting. 

Police have gas masks on their legs.

DSC03149.JPG

Police remove tents from pro-Palestine encampment on Library Mall on the morning of May 1, 2024. 




[6:52 a.m. CDT] Campus police give final warning

BREAKING: UWPD has given a 15-minute final warning to the protestors to pack up their tents before they will be removed by law enforcement. 

“Any attempt to interfere in the removal may be met with law enforcement action,” UWPD said. 




[5:53 a.m. CDT] Encampment protests begin third day

By Annika Bereny

Good morning and welcome to the third day of UW-Madison’s Liberated Zone and The Daily Cardinal’s coverage of it. Once again, the night has brought no new changes and the Palestinian flag still flies over the camp, rustling on a bit of a windy morning. 

37 tents now spread across a portion of Library Mall, a number that has grown from the first day, and grew even from yesterday morning, when there were 28. 

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Anna Kleiber

Anna Kleiber is the state news editor for The Daily Cardinal. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.


Annika Bereny

Annika Bereny is the Special Pages Editor for the Daily Cardinal and specializes in campus reporting. Follow her on Twitter at @annikabereny.


Gavin Escott

Gavin Escott is the Campus News Editor for the Daily Cardinal. Throughout his time at the Cardinal, he's covered protests, breaking news, and written in-depth features on Wisconsin politics and higher education. He is the former producer of the Cardinal Call podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @gav_escott.


Mary Bosch

Mary Bosch is the Photo Editor for The Daily Cardinal and a first year Journalism student. She has also written campus, state and city news. Follow her on twitter: @Mary_Bosch6


Noe Goldhaber

Noe Goldhaber is the college news editor and former copy chief for the Daily Cardinal. She is a statistics major and has reported on a wide range of campus issues. Follow her on Twitter at @noegoldhaber.


Tomer Ronen

Tomer Ronen is the Features Editor for the Daily Cardinal. Follow him on Twitter at @TRonen22.


Gabriella Hartlaub

Gabriella Hartlaub is an arts editor for the Daily Cardinal. She also reports state politics and life & style stories. Follow her on Twitter at @gabihartlaub.


Bryna Goeking

Bryna Goeking is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on campus news. Follow her on twitter @BrynaGoeking.

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