According to widespread media reports and videos posted to social media, yesterday morning, University of Michigan Police with riot gear, batons, and shields entered and removed a peaceful encampment set up in protest of the ongoing crisis in Israel and Palestine. Video of the incident shows police advancing and deploying chemical munitions against peaceful protesters to move them and shut down the encampment. The raid occurred during a publicly posted sunrise religious service observed by some protesters. Although the University said that the encampment was cleared for safety reasons, that is not a defensible rationale for the level of police violence inflicted on the protesters.   

This militarized display and use of force against peaceful protesters is a grossly disproportionate response. The encampment had been peacefully operating for a month. Regardless of whether the University had cause to close the encampment, there is no basis whatsoever for initiating such an action with the use of chemical munitions. Preemptively showering nonviolent protesters with chemical agents not only inflicts physical harm, but it also escalates tensions between students and the administration, intimidates those who would participate in future protest, and discourages meaningful dialogue on campus.  Such actions chill all manner of speech and contradict the University’s stated intention to welcome protest and dialogue.    

If any protestors believe their civil rights were violated during this raid, we encourage them to contact us at