May 31, 2024 - News

Wayne State students arrested during encampment removal

Student leader Ali Hassan and attorney Fatina Abdrabboh lead a press conference on campus hours after Wayne State police arrested 12 people during the tear down of the encampment that began a week ago.

Student leader Ali Hassan and attorney Fatina Abdrabboh lead a press conference on campus hours after Wayne State police arrested 12 people during the tear down of the encampment that began a week ago. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Wayne State student protesters and community members rallying behind them continued their protest outside of a local jail after a dozen encampment occupants were arrested Thursday morning.

Driving the news: Campus police began ordering occupants out of their tents around 5am and fully dismantled the Gullen Mall encampment a few hours later.

  • Police carrying batons and shields and wearing body armor made 12 arrests during the tear down, including Wayne State student Jenna Sukkar, who says she was filming on the side when an officer approached her and threw her on the ground.

What they're saying: "As I was going down I was yelling, 'I'm not resisting, I'm not resisting' while he was putting force on my back… They gave me a trespassing misdemeanor — am I not allowed to go to my classes?" Sukkar said.

Zoom out: Attorney Fatina Abdrabboh led a press conference across from Warren Avenue on Thursday morning to outline what happened as police began dismantling the camp. By noon most of the encampment occupants and supporters had driven across town to the Detroit Detention Center on Mound Road. The arrested protesters were released around 5pm, per the Free Press.

  • Dozens of people with signs, megaphones and Palestinian flags rallied for hours on the grassy median outside the jail. Some motorists honked in support; others raised a middle finger.

The other side: "[T]his was the right time to take this necessary step," Wayne State president Kimberly Andrews Espy said in a statement Thursday.

What we're watching: Student protesters say their fight against the university's investments to Israel and war manufacturing companies isn't over.

  • It's unclear what's next.
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