Pro-Palestine protestors demonstrate at UB, Buffalo State

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Protests and demonstrations over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas have been happening all across the country.

On Wednesday there was a pro-Palestine protest at UB, just one held in Western New York after one was held at SUNY Buffalo State College earlier in the day.

UB North’s was peaceful until officers moved in to disperse the crowd around 8:20 p.m., following a campus march Wednesday originally organized by the UB chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. More than 50 students and others affiliated with university gathered in a peaceful protest in front of Hochstetter Hall.

Over 15 UB and Tonawanda police vehicles and officers surrounded the protest after five tents were set up at the demonstration, going against UB and State University of New York policy. 

UB said in a statement that they recognize and respect students’ right to protest.

“The university recognizes and respects students’ right to protest. It is our expectation that protests occur lawfully in public spaces, and protestors will not disrupt or prevent the orderly conduct of classes, lectures, events and meetings,” the statement read in part. “The university is deeply cognizant of the many ways in which the unimaginable loss of life and immense scale of human suffering have raised very important and complex issues. Grappling with these issues brings forward differing opinions, perspectives and impacts among the UB community.”

Over five protesters were taken away in handcuffs by police as the group was rushed away from the site and into a nearby parking lot to then be dispersed. Police said that they do have a right to assemble, but not set up an encampment. UB said that around 16 people, including students and “other individuals not affiliated” with the school, were arrested. They said exact charges and whether or not those arrested are affiliated with UB will be available on Thursday.

“While the decision to arrest individuals occurred after multiple discussions, communications and warnings to protestors, UB Police prioritized the safety and security of the university community by upholding and enforcing all applicable laws, SUNY rules and UB polices,” the school said in an additional statement Wednesday night.

Earlier in the day a student walkout took place at Buffalo State University which was peaceful, calling for a ceasefire and for SUNY to divest any interest that they may have with Israel.

“Right now we are making demands to our government and to our schools to not support this genocide and they don’t believe a genocide is happening,” Buffalo State student Scarlett Hanley said.

A small group of Jewish students from UB also attended — they held signs saying “free the hostages.”

“Hamas started this war and it’s sad that innocent people are dying but it’s not a genocide from both sides. It’s sad. Hamas is cancer they have to be eradicated,” UB senior Brandon Meyer said.

Pro-Palestine protestors set up an encampment at the University of Rochester on Wednesday as well.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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