Video: US university professor knocked down, handcuffed amid Gaza protest

Police in the US state of Georgia used excessive force while trying to disperse protesters at a pro-Palestine protest at Emory University in Atlanta. A professor was knocked to the ground by a police officer, while another held her down as they handcuffed her with zip-ties.

The latest use of violence comes as protests against the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza continue unabated at the campuses of major universities in the US, including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, and have intensified after over 100 people were arrested at New York’s Columbia University last week.

On Thursday, the Georgia State Police arrested 28 people, including economics professor Caroline Fohlin. Protest organisers have called the police brutality an “act of terrorism”.

In a video shared by CNN, Fohlin is seen trying to confront police officers who are trying to arrest a protester while he is lying on the ground.

When she asks, “what are you doing?”, another police officer comes, grabs both her hands and tries to push her away.

While Fohlin is trying to protest the officer’s violence towards her, he shouts and asks her to “get on the ground”. Before she can react, he knocks her to the ground, and forces her hands behind her back. A second officer is also seen, putting weight on her back to prevent her from getting up.

The two officers ignore her repeated “I am a professor” plea. At one point in time, the second officer kneels on her back while handcuffing her with zip-ties.

In the same video, a Georgia State Police trooper says “it was a peaceful protest until they started fighting troopers”.

Meanwhile, Noelle McAfee, chair of the university’s philosophy department, was also arrested and a video of her detention is also doing the rounds on social media.

The footage shows her being taken away by an Atlanta Police officer, while she tells the person filming the video to “call the philosophy department officer and tell them of my arrest”.

A photographer for Fox 7 in Austin, Texas, was also arrested. A video shows him being taken away by a policeman.

He identifies himself as Carlos, and told the person filming the footage that “they (police) were pushing me, and they said I hit an officer, but I didn’t”.

“I was just covering things and they were pushing me. I told them I am from the press. I was hitting nobody.”

In a statement issued after the violence, the organisers of the protests at Emory University said the “Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police Department, and Emory Police Department all bear responsibility for this overt act of terrorism”, CNN reported.

The protesters will “continue the call for Emory University to completely divest from all programs enabling Israeli apartheid”, the organisers said, while calling for “an end to the police’s brutality and the immediate release of all activists arrested”.

Besides Emory University, at least 33 protesters were arrested at Indiana University also on Thursday after they refused to halt their encampment demonstrations despite several warnings from the police.

The Indiana University Police Department said the protesters were warned on Thursday morning and afternoon to remove their structures, but to no avail.

According to a tally by the Reuters news agency, nearly 550 arrests have been made in the past one week.

Meanwhile, protesting students at Columbia University, the epicentre of the pro-Palestinian protests, have refused to stop their stir until the prestigious institution agrees to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions and disinvest its funds from entities linked to the Jewish nation.

Published By:

Karishma Saurabh Kalita

Published On:

Apr 26, 2024

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