Jill Stein Shoved by Cops Before Arrest at University Protest


Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested alongside nearly 100 other protesters partaking in the pro-Palestinian demonstrations at Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday. She was the latest high-profile figure to join the student movement sweeping the nation’s college campuses.

In a dramatic video shared to social media, 73-year-old Stein can be seen among the group of protesters shoved backwards by police officers, who used a bike to force them back. Stein, her campaign manager, and deputy campaign manager were all arrested by officers, her team said in a statement.

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Footage from the scene showed the shocking degree of violence used in the arrests. A combined police force that appeared to consist of campus, local, and state officers could be seen violently tearing protesters away from the crowd, sometimes dragging them by their legs and feet, and zip-tying them as they lay face down on the ground.

“The demand from the encampment was specifically for the university to divest from Boeing, which manufactures munitions used in the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza at their nearby St. Charles facility,” Stein’s campaign said.

“The Stein campaign supports the demands of the students and their peaceful protest and assembly on campus,” the campaign added, calling student protests the “best part of our collective and moral consciousness.”

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The university’s divestment from Boeing was one of five stated demands protest organizer Resist Wash U, which also included an academic boycott of Israel and a public condemnation of “the ongoing genocide in Palestine,” according to a statement made Saturday.

The university said that around 80 demonstrators were arrested, including students, faculty, and outsiders not affiliated with the university. They said the group had violated campus policy and were forcefully removed after being asked to leave multiple times and refusing.

“It quickly became clear through the words and actions of this group that they did not have good intentions on our campus and that this demonstration had the potential to get out of control and become dangerous,” the university statement reads. “All will face charges of trespassing and some may also be charged with resisting arrest and assault, including for injuries to police officers.”

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It was unclear which exact police forces had been called in to assist in the arrests. A spokesman for the St. Louis Police Department said all arrests had been made by campus police and deferred comment there. Representatives for the university declined further comment.

As of Sunday morning, Stein and more than 65 protesters had been released from custody, according to her campaign and Resist Wash U.

The protests have roiled college campuses and garnered criticism for what some see as an excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations. Some university administrators, fearing the possibility of physical violence by protesters, have called in armed police to shut down the encampments.

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At the University of Southern California on Saturday night, police cars flooded the streets and officers gathered in a huge group as the Los Angeles Police Department issued a city-wide tactical alert related to the campus’ pro-Palestine demonstrations. It was unclear what exactly caused the mass alert, as no arrests were reported Sunday morning. However, a statue of the school’s mascot Tommy the Trojan was later found defaced in the center of campus, its base covered in graffiti with the words “Say No to Genocide.”

The protests have also been a source of concern among leading officials, some of whom have roundly condemn the protests as antisemitic. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, called on university leaders to crack down on protesters.

“University presidents need to get control of the situation, allow free speech and push back against antisemitism,” he said.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who is Jewish, rejected the idea that college protests were motivated by antisemitism. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, he doubled down on his earlier statement that it was not antisemitic to hold the Israeli government accountable for its actions in Gaza, and turned the focus back to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Right now, what Netanyahu’s right-wing, extremist, and racist government is doing is unprecedented in the modern history of warfare,” Sanders said, floating the death toll of more than 33,000 Palestinians in the last 6 months and the devastation of Gaza’s housing and health infrastructure.

The progressive senator said it was tantamount to bring the focus back to Gaza, echoing a common demand of student demonstrators.

“We do have to pay attention to the disastrous and unprecedented humanitarian disaster taking place in Gaza right now,” he said.

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