Pro-Palestinian encampment grows on George Washington University campus

The pro-Palestinian protest at George Washington University is showing no signs of letting up but has for the most part remained peaceful, unlike what's been seen at other college campuses around the country.  

The block of H Street between 20th and 21st streets, NW, remained blocked off by D.C. police Tuesday. It’s part of the large tent city on the campus of GWU that seems to be entrenched, for now.

"The fact that this is allowed to keep occurring is absolutely ridiculous," said GWU student Sabrina Soffer.

The encampment at GWU is now on its sixth day.  Pro-Palestinian students from universities around the D.C. region are leading the protest, causing more than concern for some students of the Jewish faith.

"It’s anti-Semitism," Soffer told FOX 5. "The ideas have been thrifted but it has a shiny new fashionable outerwear and the fact that this is given the moral high ground — it’s exactly how it happened in Germany. In the Nazi era, anti-Semitism was intellectualized, it was moralized, it was legalized and then it was normalized and that’s what we’re seeing right now. There’s blatant anti-Semitism on our campus and it’s being normalized."

 One of the student leaders of the protest is Jewish. She has a different take on the movement. 

"Personally, I feel more safe being Jewish in here in this encampment than I do outside this encampment and the reason for that is because everyone here believes in collective liberation of the safety of all people are intertwined with each other and I know that as a Jew I’m included in that," GW student Miriam said. 

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The dozens of tents occupy the entire university yard in the heart of GW's campus in Foggy Bottom. Barricades that had surrounded the perimeter late last week are now piled in a heap.

"It’s important that we are still being disruptive to the University and disrupting business as usual because there cannot be business as usual during the genocide and we’re now up to 200 hundred days into a genocide and students are fed up," Miriam said. 

But some of the recent protests on college campuses around the country have turned violent — Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and Columbia University in New York among them.  

Students attending a nearby high school use the yard as a cut-through and are still doing so right now.

"I walk to Western Market for lunch every day and I just walk through. It is very peaceful. Everyone’s very quiet and I think it’s kind of cool for me to see the movements and stuff happening downtown in this space," high schooler Kai Hardy-Kanegis said. 

There have been calls from some in Congress for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Pamela Smith to clear the block of H Street that's been claimed by the protestors and to assist GW in dismantling the encampment in its quad. But those calls appear to be falling on deaf ears.

"I'm upset. I'm outraged," Soffer said. "I mean the fact that the mayor isn’t allowing the police to intervene is absolutely ridiculous and I feel like every step that needs to be taken to get police presence there right now to remove this needs to be done."