The student protests that have been sweeping college campuses nationwide landed at Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday. The pro-Palestinian demonstrations have popped up at campuses across the country over the last week.

On Wednesday in Baltimore City, dozens of people peacefully gathered at Johns Hopkins University to stand in solidarity with Gaza and students at other colleges to call for disinvestment from Israel.

“First and foremost, the purpose of our protest here was to refocus our collective attention on what’s going on in Palestine,” said student organizer Fatima, who did not provide her last name.

The pro-Palestinian protests spread after more than 100 arrests were made at Columbia University in New York last week.

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Demonstrators there faced charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct while protesting the Israel-Hamas war through encampments on campus.

“I can’t be a public health major if I turn a blind eye to the public health crisis happening in Gaza and I can’t be a human being if I don’t care about the suffering of human life,” John Hopkins student-organizer Simcha Fleischmann said.

Some at the local demonstration also called for JHU to cut ties with Tel-Aviv University in Israel.

“Acknowledging is just the bare minimum, and we need to move forward from that,” said JHU alumnus Romeo, who also did not provide his last name. “[JHU] can take losses to its ties to Israel.”

A mix of students, staff and alumni went on a march through part of campus, listened to speeches and made signs.

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For some, including student Tony, the ongoing war hits very close to home after losing a family member in Gaza. He said he recently returned to school after taking time away to cope.

“I just keep thinking, what if they’re next? What if another family member is next? So I just try to appreciate the little things,” Tony said.

In a statement to WJZ, Johns Hopkins University wrote:

“Reasoned, analytical, and open dialogue is a hallmark of our university community. With this comes an obligation to ensure each voice can be heard, including through peaceful demonstration.

“At Hopkins, we have longstanding policies and guidelines to support demonstration and free expression. These guidelines were developed collaboratively with our students and reflect a mutual commitment to ensuring the flow of open, vibrant expression that is so essential to our academic community, and to preventing harassment, discrimination, or intimidation.

“Our priority this evening was to accommodate a peaceful protest while maintaining a safe environment for our community. We appreciate the collaborative efforts of our students to do so.”

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