Stanford students arrested in pro-Palestinian protest that took over president's office

FILE PHOTO: Protests continue at a protest encampment in support of Palestinians at Stanford university

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) -More than a dozen people were arrested at Stanford University in California on Wednesday after pro-Palestinian student protesters barricaded themselves inside the office of the school president, the latest clash between U.S. students and authorities over the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Approximately 10 students entered the administrative offices building around 5:30 a.m. on the last day of classes for the spring quarter, according to the student newspaper The Stanford Daily, while about 50 students linked arms and surrounded the building, chanting, "Palestine will be free."

In a post on Instagram, the group Liberate Stanford said an "autonomous group of students" had occupied the office of university President Richard Saller. The students have called on the school to divest from companies linked to Israel's war in Gaza, among other demands.

Police used a crowbar to enter the building about two hours after the demonstration began, according to the Stanford Daily. The university said 13 people had been arrested, one officer was injured and the building had suffered "extensive" damage.

Arrested students will be suspended, and any seniors will not be permitted to graduate, the school said.

In a statement, Saller and the school's provost, Jenny Martinez, said they were "appalled and deeply saddened" by the students' actions.

The university also removed a pro-Palestinian encampment that had stood on campus since April and a pro-Israel display honoring the victims of Hamas' attack on Oct. 7, citing public safety concerns.

"The situation on campus has now crossed the line from peaceful protest to actions that threaten the safety of our community," the school leaders wrote.

The arrested students included a reporter for the Stanford Daily, the newspaper said.

Hundreds of students have been arrested in recent months after staging demonstrations, setting up encampments and in some cases taking over buildings to protest Israel's assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health authorities.

The Israeli campaign began after Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Rod Nickel and David Gregorio)