US President spoke for the first time about student demonstrations at universities and criticized violent acts on campuses

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, said this Thursday (May 2, 2024) that the pro-Palestinian demonstrations at universities in the country did not make him reconsider North American foreign policy in the Middle East.

In a speech lasting almost 4 minutes given to journalists at the White House, Biden spoke for the first time about the acts organized by students at higher education institutions in the country. Protesters call for an end to the war in the Gaza Strip. They also demand that universities separate themselves financially and academically from institutions and companies linked to the Israeli government.

The US president criticized what he considers to be “violent protests” at universities. He also said that Americans have the “right to demonstrate, but not to cause chaos”.

“Destroying property is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism, trespass, breaking windows, closing campuses, forced cancellation of classes and graduations, none of these are peaceful protests.”he stated.

Biden was also asked whether the National Guard should be sent to campuses. He said he was against the measure.

The Democrat also condemned anti-Semitic acts, declaring that there should be no space for “threat or violence against Jewish students” on campuses. He also criticized Islamophobia and discrimination against Arab-Americans and Palestinian-Americans.


The recent wave of protests was driven by Columbia University in New York. Pro-Palestinian students began setting up a camp on April 17, the same day that the institution’s president, Minouche Shafik, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor and spoke about the steps the university is taking regarding accusations of anti-Semitism on campus.

Camps were also set up at more than 40 US institutions across the country. Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Yale, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth Collegewhich are part of the Ivy League (group of the best universities in the USA), registered acts.

According to information from the New York Times until 1:30 pm (Brasília time) this Thursday (May 2, 2024), police carried out operations to disperse the protests and dismantle the camps at 42 universities. At least 1,900 protesters were arrested across the country.

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