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Credit: Jackson Ford

Members of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment have been released from police custody after being transported to the Philadelphia Police Department’s 19th District Station earlier today. 

Approximately 33 individuals, including nine Penn students, were arrested at the encampment early Friday morning, a University spokesperson wrote to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Those arrested were taken to the station at 61st Street and Haverford Avenue, processed, and released after being issued code violation notices. Two protesters were taken to the hospital for medical attention prior to arriving at the precinct.

As of 9:05 a.m., all individuals had been released, according to legal observers and Philadelphia Police officers on the scene. The arrested individuals were “cited for defiant trespass,” according to a statement posted on the Division of Public Safety’s website.

The first individuals were spotted exiting the police station at about 7:20 a.m., and they were directed to stand across the street from the station in a group, accompanied by a Philadelphia police officer. A few minutes later, six police officers forced the group further down the street to stand at the intersection of 61st Street and Girard Avenue.

Philadelphia police vehicles also blocked off several intersections around the police station for about an hour, including Girard Avenue.

As protesters were released, they joined the crowd gathered at 61st Street and Girard Avenue. Several community members who had not been arrested drove to the intersection to join those arrested in solidarity, forming a crowd of about 50 people.  

Reporters for the DP were also asked to move away from the police station and join the crowd at 61st Street and Girard Avenue.

One encampment member who spoke to the DP alleged that police officers were misdirecting those released toward a nearby bus station instead of in the direction of the crowd. Although the DP was unable to officially corroborate this, protesters released from the police station joined the crowd from different directions, appearing to corroborate the protester’s statement.

Several encampment organizers joined the crowd throughout the morning, including one with a megaphone. She led the crowd in chants, including “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe,” and “We will free Palestine within our lifetime.” 

The crowd also chanted “Fuck you, Larry” and “Larry’s asshole” while waiting for protesters to be released. Cars passing by honked to show support for those gathered.

After every protester had been released, the crowd dispersed, with many heading back to Penn’s campus for a community gathering at St. Mary’s Church.