Police make 15 arrests during protest at UB North

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – At UB North, more than a dozen protesters face charges in connection to a large demonstration there that was broken up by police.

Dozens of officers moved in to make those arrests Wednesday night after multiple warnings to disperse.

Initially, UB said 16 arrests were made, but that number was lowered by one to 15. Of the students arrested five are UB students, the others aren’t. There is video of police moving in to disperse the crowd, after UB says the group had to leave by dusk.

If not, demonstrators would be in violation of UB’s policy on picketing and overnight assemblies. Some tents were set up, but were removed.

There is video of one demonstrator’s face being pressed into the ground by an officer. State Police, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Amherst Police, among other assisting agencies were here. Two officers were assaulted, according to UB and treated for minor injuries. UB believes people with no known connection to the campus were behind the idea to set up an encampment.

“That makes me feel unsafe and I talked with my friends and that makes them feel also very unsafe that people from outside campus are coming and demonstrating at these protests and all, I wish peace for everyone I want a free Israel and a free Palestine,” said Sujay Sundar, a UB freshman.

The students arrested could also face disciplinary sanctions from UB. The univeristy says it recognizes students rights to free speech. In Wednesday night’s protest, one person was taken to a hospital with a minor injury.

“I feel like right now, the campus is like divided into like three groups, one group is pro-Israel the third group is pro-Palestine and there’s the middle, they’re aware of what’s happening, but they don’t care,” said Brandon Meyer of UB’s Jewish Student Union.

A local organization, WNY Muslims is outraged over the events from Wednesday night saying it was an overuse of police force. They’re demanding an investigation. Those who were arrested will face charges such as loitering and disorderly conduct. They were given appearance tickets and will have to appear in Amherst town court at a later date.

Meanwhile, there will be a pro-Israel protest at UB on Monday at noon.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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