Chicago Police Disband Pro-Palestinian Protest at Art Institute

Police Arrest Dozens in Protest at Art Institute of Chicago

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested at Art Institute of Chicago

On Saturday, the Art Institute of Chicago was the site of a significant pro-Palestinian protest. The Chicago police forcibly dismantled an encampment at the museum, resulting in the arrest of dozens of protesters. The demonstrators had set up tents in a garden at the institute. Some of those arrested were students from the affiliated School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as confirmed by the museum in an official statement.

Police Action and Arrests

The Chicago police shared on their social media that the protesters were removed at the request of the school. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police reported that 68 people were arrested and charged with trespassing. The protesters had established their encampment in the North Garden, part of the Art Institute of Chicago museum, at around 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Unlike at other U.S. schools where similar pro-Palestinian protests have taken place, the police responded immediately in this instance. They stated this immediate response was necessary to maintain public safety and the safety of the protesters.

Demands of the Protesters

The protest was organized by the People’s Art Institute. As seen on their social media, the demonstrators’ demands included a formal condemnation of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians by the institute. They also called for the removal of any programs legitimizing the “occupation of Palestine” and a divestment from individuals or entities supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

However, the museum offered the protesters an alternative venue for their demonstration. The school also assured students that they would not face academic sanctions or charges if they agreed to relocate.

Protesters’ Actions and Police Response

The statement from the museum also indicated that some protesters had surrounded and pushed a security officer, stolen keys to the museum, and blocked emergency exits. After approximately two hours of negotiations, the museum requested the police to remove the protesters. Subsequently, the police issued warnings, removed, and eventually arrested the protesters.

Videos posted by the organizers show police forcibly pulling demonstrators out of a human chain formed outside the garden. The protesters were seen chanting, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”

As global attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to grow, such protests are likely to remain a recurring theme across various institutions and cities worldwide. These developments underline the need for open dialogue and peaceful resolution in addressing this longstanding issue.