Towson students threatened with arrest at latest pro-Palestine demonstration

By Gabriel Donahue, Editor-in-Chief

A second pro-Palestine demonstration hosted Wednesday by the Colonized Peoples Revolution at Tiger Plaza led to Towson University police officers threatening participants with arrest for trespassing after not complying with a university policy. 

Spontaneous expressive activity is prohibited at Tiger Plaza by the Time, Place and Manner policy, according to Associate Dean of Students Alison Peer. The space requires a reservation.

After asking demonstrators multiple times to move to the designated demonstration area near the Towsontown Garage, Police Chief Joe Herring attempted to issue citations. He said the group was trespassing because Tiger Plaza is not a public-use area, and the Colonized Peoples Revolution is not a university-affiliated group.  

Herring told them physical arrest would be the next step if they refused to provide the information needed for a citation. Compliance with university officials is required under the Code of Student Accountability

The university will conduct an investigation and take disciplinary action for students found violating the Time, Place and Manner policy, a Towson spokesperson said in an emailed statement provided Thursday. 

Participants laid on the grass in what’s called a “die-in” holding images of Palestinians killed by Israel over many years. Speakers read off descriptions of the deceased written by family members. 

The event was just the latest in a series of pro-Palestinian gatherings and protests by various groups on campus amid heightened violence in the Middle East that was reignited last month after a surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Since Israel declared war against Hamas on Oct. 8, over 11,400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, while the Israeli death toll remains around 1,200 with at least 240 taken hostage, according to the Associated Press

Signage listed demands such as a university statement acknowledging and condemning the genocide of Palestinians, transparency in the university’s investments, and a complete divestment from companies funding Israel and the bombardment on Gaza. The Towerlight has not independently verified the university’s investment status in regard to Israel.

At least 10 individual students joined the demonstrators throughout the event. 

“There’s a genocide going on — simple as that,” a student who joined but wished to remain anonymous said. “I don’t think it’s a political issue, it’s humanitarian at this point.” 

The group dispersed at around 1:30 p.m. after TUPD continued telling them to move or risk disciplinary action. 

The group planned to be there from noon until 3 p.m., a participant, who went by the nickname Lilah for privacy, said. 

Lilah said they considered the die-in more of a memorial than a protest. 

“These are real people that are dying,” they said. “Every single one you see there has a whole human life behind it.” 

Among a group of at least 20 bystanders were freshmen Maytal Fleisher and Cody Gordon, members of the on-campus Jewish group Hillel. 

Fleisher called the demonstration antisemitic, pointing to the rally cry “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” She and Gordon said the chant calls for the extermination of Israel and the Jewish people who live there. 

“If we don’t defend ourselves, there’s gonna be no Israel,” Fleisher said. 

Palestinian activists have said the chant is a call for peace and freedom from Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

Protestors Wednesday did not mention Jewish people. At a previous rally, speakers emphasized being anti-Zionist, explicitly differentiating between Zionism and Judaism.

Gabe Donahue has held numerous positions within The Towerlight. He started as a writer before becoming the News Editor, and now he serves as Editor-in-Chief.


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