Atlanta Police load arrested protesters into the back of a van at Emory University.

Atlanta Police load arrested protesters into the back of a van at Emory University.

Credit: Logan. C. Ritchie/Rough Draft Atlanta

Pro-Palestinian protesters and opponents of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center clashed with law enforcement on the campus of Emory University this morning with 28 arrests being made.

A small counter-protest by the Jewish community took place at Emory Village this evening. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of Free Palestine supporters gathered again on the Emory quad Thursday night and had a brief standoff with Atlanta Police and Georgia State Patrol officers outside the Candler School of Theology building. 

There were social media reports that pepper balls were used by law enforcement to disperse the crowd, while some protesters attempted to reassemble the encampment that had been removed after this morning’s protest. It was unclear if any additional arrests were made.

The Emory Wheel reported this evening that law enforcement arrested 28 individuals, including 20 Emory University community members, during this morning’s pro-Palestine encampment on the quadrangle. 

“We are working with responding agencies to expedite the release of any Emory community members who remain in custody,” Emory Vice President for Public Safety Cheryl Elliott wrote in a university-wide email. “Our primary goal today was clearing the Quad of a disruptive encampment while holding individuals accountable to the law.”

Stop Copy City and Free Palestine protesters set up tents on the quad at Emory University early Thursday morning demanding the school divest from Israel. The encampment is similar to other protests occurring across the country at colleges and universities, most notably at Columbia in New York City. 

By 10 a.m., the Atlanta Police Department was making arrests, and Emory Police was shutting off access to areas of the campus. Georgia State Patrol officers were also on the scene. 

The Emory Wheel reported that police were using tear gas and tasers for crowd control. Jewish Studies classes were moved to virtual meetings, a student confirmed.

“APD, KKK, IDF, you’re all the same!” one woman shouted into a megaphone. When her voice became too hoarse, a man took over with cries of “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” and other anti-Israel slogans. 

Atlanta Police officers were arresting protesters and others who refused to follow their directions. At around 11 a.m., a woman on a bike refused to move so that an APD vehicle could get through. Another woman screamed as officers arrested her and carried her to the side, then put her into a police van.

A scene from this morning’s protest on the Emory University campus.

A scene from this morning’s protest on the Emory University campus.

Credit: Logan C. Ritchie/Rough Draft Atlanta

An APD statement says chemical irritants were used, but not rubber bullets as some sources alleged. 

“At Emory’s request, law enforcement began assisting Emory PD in securing the campus. When this happened, law enforcement officers were met with violence. We are aware APD officers used chemical irritants during the incident. However, APD did not deploy rubber bullets. We urge everyone to stay safe and exercise peaceful means of free speech. The Emory Police Department is the lead agency, please direct any further questions to them,” the APD statement said.

Consul General of Israel to the Southeast Anat Sultan-Dadon responded to protests happening across college campuses.

“Demonstrations on college and university campuses, on the streets of so many cities around the United States, rather than call out Hamas and its abhorrent terror and genocidal goal, are encouraging and supporting these barbaric rapists and murderers. These demonstrators call for the elimination of Israel, for a global intifada against the Jewish people. Jewish students are being intimidated, harassed, threatened and assaulted throughout the United States, while the voices of reason, of moral clarity, are too few,” she said. 

“Over the last few days, these demonstrations have received the praise of Hamas and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Demonstrators, here in the United States, praised by a terror organization and a terror state, the largest terror sponsor in the world,” Sultan-Dadon said.  

She called for leaders who have not yet stepped up – whether academic, political, faith, or communal – to take a clear stand against hate, antisemitism, and the support of terror.

“Not taking a firm stand and calling out evil, amounts to supporting it,” Sultan-Dadon said. 

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.