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UCSF protestors set up encampment on Parnassus campus, but police quickly take it down

Protestors, organizers, students, and healthcare workers gathered outside of UCSF's Kalmanovitz Library on Monday to support the UCSF Gaza encampment
Wren Farrell
Protestors, organizers, students, and healthcare workers gathered outside of UCSF's Kalmanovitz Library on Monday to support the UCSF Gaza encampment

On Monday UC San Francisco students and healthcare workers erected a pro-Palestine encampment outside of the university’s main library, making it the seventh Bay Area University to do so. But by 6pm, UCSF police removed all of the tents.

The protest was organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center — or AROC — and Healthcare Workers for Palestine, and at 3pm around 50 people rallied outside of UCSF’s Kalmanovitz Library.

“Right now in Gaza, the majority of children are facing famine.”

This is Dr. Jess Ghannam, a professor of Psychiatry at UCSF.

“Right now, the Israeli military is standing ready to invade Rafah yet again. We are here today together with the encampments all over the country to say no.”

Dr. Ghannam told KALW that one of UCSF’s own nurse midwives has been volunteering in Rafah.

“She's been delivering babies for two weeks there. We're trying to evacuate her. She's stuck. You know, Israel is bombing Rafah where she is right now. She and 20 other American healthcare workers are stuck and their lives are in danger.”

Organizers say there are no fully functional hospitals left in Gaza. Only a handful of its 36 hospitals remain even partially functional. The International Rescue Committee has reported that 100% of Gazans are facing food insecurity, and 95% lack access to safe water. 35,000 Palestinian deaths have been confirmed — at least 15,000 of which are children — but officials say this is almost certainly an undercount.

UCSF protestors have made a number of demands: including divestment from “organizations profiting from” the war on Gaza.

“We're saying that occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing are not good. Full stop. And now we're saying attacks on healthcare facilities, attacks on healthcare workers, physicians, nurses is, is a crime and those sacred spaces should be protected.”

Even if the university wanted to meet the protestors demands, full divestment wouldn’t be easy: UCSF’s largest donor is the Helen Diller Foundation, which has been linked to several Zionist organizations and projects, including the Canary Mission, a doxing project which is directly linked to the Israeli government.

By 6pm, police had shown up to clear the UCSF encampment. Here’s Hadi, an organizer who did not want to give her full name for fear of being doxed.

“We formed a line and they pushed through us. They were shoving all of us. And they just took all of our tents and they took their comrade who was helping us and arrested them. They apparently said they released and cited them, but we don't know if that's true.”

UCSF would not speak to KALW about the sweep.

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.