Rashida Tlaib Criticizes University of Michigan Police for Breaking Up Peaceful Protest

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) criticized university police officers for their actions during campus protests, specifically mentioning the University of Michigan for dismantling a “peaceful” encampment.

Tlaib, an outspoken advocate for Palestinians in the context of the Gaza conflict, addressed a press conference in Washington on Thursday, asserting that police were overly aggressive with student protesters. Protest encampments have emerged on college campuses nationwide over the past month, some of which have escalated into violence and property destruction.

“This week at the University of Michigan, police violently destroyed the peaceful, most beautiful encampment, interfaith students’ encampment,” Tlaib said. “They sprayed them with chemicals, brutalized them. Many were hospitalized for exercising their First Amendment right and saying, ‘We are tired of supporting war.’”

The Michigan congresswoman also expressed her pride in the students and faculty for their “nonviolent civil disobedience,” asserting that student protesters have historically been “on the right side of history time and time again.”

“It is utterly disgraceful that university administrators and government officials are sending, again, militarized police forces to stop students from exercising their First Amendment rights,” Tlaib stated.

The University of Michigan released a statement Tuesday explaining that the school’s fire marshal and student life leaders had requested the protesters to avoid overloading the school’s power sources and to cease using open flames due to potential fire hazards. When the demonstrators did not comply, the school disbanded the encampment.

School officials noted that while students are allowed to protest as long as they do not jeopardize the safety of others on campus, any acts of violence and intimidation associated with these protests would not be tolerated.

The protests on campuses have been in support of Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Tlaib has been highly critical of Israel following the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack, accusing her fellow lawmakers of giving their approval for an Israeli invasion of Rafah by voting to provide aid to Israel.

Tlaib has additionally called for the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials to “finally hold them accountable for this genocide.” Netanyahu has responded by accusing the ICC of attempting to “demonize Israel” over its plans to issue warrants for him and other Israeli officials.

Asher Notheis
Asher Notheis
Breaking News Reporter. A Liberty University graduate who has spent most of his life in Virginia, Asher started writing articles for his college newspaper before writing stories for The College Fix.

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