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Pro-Palestine protesters at GWU set up encampment

From sun up to sun down, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters occupied George Washington University's campus Thursday with their voices, signs, and tents.  

Students from several schools across D.C. are standing in solidarity, asking for a ceasefire in the Middle East. 

"We will not sit silently while our student loans fund bombs on children," said GWU grad student Amal Garada. 

Students at GWU have a number of requests for the school's leadership. The university's newspaper, the GW Hatchet, reported that students are "demanding that GW divests from companies tied to Israel, drop the alleged charges against pro-Palestinian student organizers and disclose all its endowments and investments." 

One student, acting as the media spokesperson, told FOX 5: "A huge ask for us is to provide amnesty and drop all charges against Arab students, Muslim students and students organizing."

FOX 5 learned GW's Foggy Bottom campus is currently in "safety mode," meaning card readers on campus are "restricted to allow GW community members access only.

The DMV Coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine claims to be the organizer of the protest Thursday, joining colleges across the country in protest. 

GW requested assistance from D.C. police to relocate the "unauthorized" protest, according to a statement from GW. 

"The encampment, unlike some demonstrations in the past, is an unauthorized use of university space at this location and violated several university policies," said GW. "Occupying campus grounds, establishing outdoor encampments, and blocking access to buildings create safety concerns and can disrupt learning and study, especially during this critical final exam period. Such activities are inconsistent with the university’s mission, values, and commitment to providing a safe environment for all students and employees."

The statement also asserted that GW "will not allow students from other local colleges or unaffiliated individuals to trespass on our campus." 

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As chants grew louder, around 7 p.m., the university issued an additional statement, saying: "As we said earlier, the encampment is an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies. The university and MPD are continuing to work in coordination to determine how to best address the situation and ensure student compliance with those policies."

Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia, issued the following statement:

"As students demonstrate in support of Palestine on campuses and schools in the District of Columbia, we remind school administrators that freedom of expression is a cornerstone of education in a democracy. All students deserve equal access to education, free from discrimination based on religion, race, and ethnicity. Schools have a responsibility to keep all students safe from violence, discrimination, and censorship. The freedom to share diverse views and spark robust debate about political issues is essential to democracy, social justice, and progress — especially in times of national and global crisis. School should be a place where ideas are exchanged freely and debate is encouraged. We encourage all students to review their schools’ policies about demonstrations and protests and to know their rights when at public schools, on public property, or in interactions with police."

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 DC for updates.