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19 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested for trying to occupy UPenn building

The University of Pennsylvania police arrested 19 pro-Palestinian protesters Friday night after they allegedly tried to occupy a campus building, the school said.

The university's police department said the protesters, the majority of whom were not students, attempted to get into Fisher-Bennett Hall when campus officers and officers from the Philadelphia Police Department intervened.

Officers were seen scuffling with protesters and several people were taken away in handcuffs.

PHOTO: In this screen grab from a video, law enforcement officers and pro-Palestinian demonstrators engage in a stand off at the University of Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2024, in Philadelphia. (WPVI)
PHOTO: In this screen grab from a video, law enforcement officers and pro-Palestinian demonstrators engage in a stand off at the University of Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2024, in Philadelphia. (WPVI)

The protest group Penn Gaza Solidarity said in a release that it was planning on occupying the building.

MORE: Organizing massive campus protests required logistical savvy. Here's how students pulled it off.

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"The demands of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment remain: disclose Penn's investments, divest from the Israeli apartheid state, and defend pro-Palestine protestors and scholars," Penn Gaza Solidarity said in a statement.

The group has not officially commented about the arrests as of Saturday afternoon.

UPenn said in a statement Saturday morning that six of the 19 protesters were students.

"Twelve were issued citations for failure to disperse and failure to follow police commands and later released. Seven remain in custody awaiting felony charges, including one for assaulting a police officer," the school said.

PHOTO: In this screen grab from a video, law enforcement officers and pro-Palestinian demonstrators engage in a stand off at the University of Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2024, in Philadelphia. (WPVI)
PHOTO: In this screen grab from a video, law enforcement officers and pro-Palestinian demonstrators engage in a stand off at the University of Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2024, in Philadelphia. (WPVI)

Before dispersing just before 11 p.m., demonstrators marched from the campus to the Penn Museum and then to Franklin Field, where the school plans on holding its commencement on Monday.

MORE: How pro-Palestinian protests unfolded on college campuses across the US: A timeline

UPenn claimed that campus officers found "lock-picking tools and homemade metal shields fashioned from oil drums."

"The exit doors had been secured with zip-ties, barbed wire, and barricaded with metal chairs and desks, and the windows were covered over with newspaper and cardboard," the school alleged.

Last week, officers dismantled an encampment on the College Green, which lasted for two weeks.

19 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested for trying to occupy UPenn building originally appeared on abcnews.go.com