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Live updates: Pro-Palestine protestors remain on UNF campus with increased police presence ahead of curfew

This is a breaking news article and will be updated live.

11:00 p.m.: Police appear to be leaving. The encampment is still on the Green, but some officers are walking around it with flashlights. At least 10 protestors were arrested, but possibly more.

10:54 p.m.: Police have handcuffed the protestors and sat them down in front of the Fine Arts Center. “Good job, everybody,” was just said over the radio.

10:45 p.m.: Several protestors have their hands up, and at least one is currently being arrested. Police seem to be arresting protestors one by one, zip-tying them and patting them down. More cops on bicycles have arrived.

10:38 p.m.: Police on bikes wearing gas masks and face masks are now surrounding protestors.

Police officers wearing gas masks and face shields have surrounded the protestors still sitting on the Green. (Carter Mudgett)

10:36 p.m.: Officers told students standing on the sidewalk behind the protestors that “campus is closed” and they need to leave or they will also be arrested. The protestors standing between the Green and the parking garage have also been told to leave. They are chanting as they back away from campus.

10:23 p.m.: Three police officers just walked up to the protestors, warning them to leave once again.

10:13 p.m.: The sprinklers are now on. It is unknown if the sprinklers usually turn on automatically at this time. Protestors still sit on the Green, chanting, “The students united will never be defeated.”

10:07 p.m.: Police are approaching protestors and telling them it’s past 10 p.m. and they must leave. Some officers put on blue gloves while the remaining protestors continued chanting on the Green. Others chanted further away towards the parking garage.

10:02 p.m.: About 25 protestors remain on the Green. They have begun chanting, “Free, free Palestine.” Preachers also arrived on the Green around 9:40 p.m. and are preaching next to the protest. Approximately 15 police officers are scattered around the area, with some standing next to the preachers.

UNF pro-Palestine protests continue on the Green for the third straight day since protestors arrived Tuesday afternoon.

Police told the protestors Tuesday night they had to be off campus at 10 p.m. or they would be arrested and suspended. They eventually left a few minutes before the curfew. Lissie Morales, a protestor with Students for a Democratic Society, said they plan to be there from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day for the rest of the week.

Tuesday came and went without disruption or arrests. Protestors were told by police they could not put up tents without a permit, so they put up umbrellas instead.

On Thursday night, around 50 to 75 protestors sat on the Green listening to speeches. Around 8 p.m., a large number of officers arrived on bicycles. According to a video from the UNF SDS Instagram, protestors were told by police to take down the umbrellas and leave. They took down the umbrellas but stayed on the Green, awaiting the official 10 p.m. deadline.

Pro-Palestine protestors gathered on the Green at UNF 30 minutes before their 10 p.m. curfew. ((Carter Mudgett))

UNF President Moez Limayem emailed the university community earlier in the day expressing the importance of Friday’s commencement ceremony for students who missed graduation in 2020 and addressed the protestors’ plans to remain on the Green all day Friday:

“I’d like to remind all Ospreys and guests that UNF prohibits protests or demonstrations inside University buildings and prohibits disruption of scheduled events. Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our entire campus community and our visitors. We are also committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of every student, faculty and staff member. Please remember, that with those rights come the important responsibility to follow applicable laws and regulations and understand that there are consequences for those who choose to ignore them. Again, these rules are in place to protect every person on our campus, where there is no tolerance for hate or bigotry of any kind.”

“Let us all remember that tomorrow is about our graduates and those who helped them reach this milestone,” he said.

Spinnaker has reached out to UNF for more information on the situation and which specific university policies the protestors may be violating but has not yet received a response.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Jeanne Gilbert
Jeanne Gilbert, Editor in Chief
Jeanne Gilbert is Spinnaker's current editor-in-chief and a sophomore majoring in public relations at the University of North Florida. She joined Spinnaker in the summer of 2023 as a volunteer. After graduating, Jeanne plans to continue in the newsroom or work in public relations.
(Carter Mudgett)
(Carter Mudgett), Reporter
Carter Mudgett is a University of North Florida student majoring in multimedia journalism. He was Spinnaker's editor-in-chief from August 2021 to December 2023. Carter led Spinnaker to be awarded a 2023 Online Pacemaker Award, and most recently placed second in the Society of Professional Journalists's Sunshine State Awards for "Best Coverage of LGBT Issues" in the college category. Backed by a passion for creative storytelling and accurate reporting, Carter typically covers education, gender and race issues.

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