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Petition calls for closure of Penn protest camp; Man accused of spraying “stinking spray” on tents

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As pro-Palestinian protest camp As the University of Pennsylvania's College Green enters its eighth day, Thursday was already expected to be an active day on campus. A march and counter-demonstration are planned, and a traditional junior class ceremony and walk through campus are still on the schedule, although the location has been changed.

Protesters camped in tents and hung signs with pro-Palestinian messages such as “Free Palestine” and called on the school to divest from companies that promote Israel's military efforts in Gaza.

The group includes Penn students, faculty and groups not affiliated with the university.

Workers were seen using power equipment to wash away protest messages from the brick sidewalk near the Ben Franklin statue after it was defaced overnight.


Counter-demonstrators deliver a petition demanding the dissolution of the Penn camp

The Philadelphia chapter of the Israeli-American Council said it is planning a march through campus and will submit a petition to the office of interim president J. Larry Jameson calling for the encampment's removal.

According to organizers, the petition was signed by 2,000 people.

Penn has issued multiple trespassing notices to encampment protesters and posted signs warning of the violation. However, it is not clear whether the university plans to clear the camp.

“Your activities violate state and local laws and university policy,” it read.

On Wednesday, police were also seen removing cable ties holding metal barriers around the camp together.

The police arrived Pro-Palestinian protesters camped at the University of California, Los Angeles early Thursday morning. At Tuesday evening, Hundreds of protesters at Columbia University were arrested after the school president asked the NYPD to evict them from campus.

Back at Penn on Thursday, IAC protesters also plan to bring a projector and show social media videos filmed by Hamas and a documentary about sexual violence against Israeli women, “Screams Before Silence.”

Their goal is to “demand and draw attention to a safe environment for Jewish students.” the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7th.

The encampment at the University of Pennsylvania's College Green was seen on the morning of May 2nd.

CBS News Philadelphia


Hey Day the university is planning to move

Hey Day is a University of Pennsylvania tradition that dates back to 1916. The juniors dress in red shirts, wear flat-brimmed hats and carry sticks.

Hey Day takes place after the last day of classes and celebrates the transition of the juniors into the senior class. Typically, students strut down Locust Walk and end on College Green.

However, the protest camp is on College Green.

Penn students participating in Hey Day have been informed that the procession will end at Annenberg Plaza instead this year, a student involved in organizing Hey Day told CBS News Philadelphia.

Man charged with spraying “stink spray” during Penn camp protests

On Wednesday, a man was seen carrying a canister containing an unknown liquid and spraying the liquid at the protest camp.

Penn said the man, who was later seen in handcuffs, is now facing charges.

“Penn Public Safety removed an individual who allegedly sprayed a sulfur-containing 'stink' spray at the camp,” a university spokesman said Wednesday. “No injuries were reported. The individual was charged with disorderly contact and harassment.”

Protesters wrote on social media that the substance was “similar to skunk spray.”

A University of Pennsylvania spokesman said this man was charged with disorderly conduct after he was seen spraying an unknown liquid at a pro-Palestinian protest camp on campus on Wednesday, May 1.

CBS News Philadelphia


“We know it gives off a strong smell, but we don't know what it is,” protester and Penn student Eliana Atienza told reporters Wednesday.

“He is a random person that the police let into our camp,” Atienza added, claiming the man “sprayed our food, sprayed our grass, sprayed our tents, sprayed our signs.”

What are the demonstrators demanding?

Atienza said the protesters' three main goals were to demand Penn disclose its investments, divest from “companies that profit from Israeli apartheid” and protect the speech of Palestinian student protesters.

On protest groups' social media accounts, a frequent target for divestment was Ghost Robotics, a company founded in Penn's Pennovation lab. According to an article in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, the Israel Defense Forces acquired four “Vision 60” ground drone robots from Ghost Robotics and they entered service in the war.

Haaretz said the robots are linked to a “Rooster” drone from the company Robotican and that the two robots used together can investigate whether there are IEDs or Hamas fighters in buildings.

Anna Harden

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