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Credit: Jean Park

Follow more live updates from the 'Gaza Solidarity Encampment' here.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier visited the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on College Green around 2 p.m.

They spoke to student organizers and legal observers on the edge of the encampment before holding a brief press conference. Gauthier and Krasner were told by a legal observer that students in the encampment did not want them to enter. The Daily Pennsylvanian was unable to determine the reason.

A student organizer in the encampment described to Krasner and Gauthier the spray incident from earlier today, when an unknown individual was detained after he walked through the encampment and sprayed an odorous unknown substance on signs. A student organizer also said that the individual sprayed the unknown substance on the encampment’s food.

This marks Krasner’s first visit to the encampment. At the press conference, he said that he was there to “check in and do a little fact finding” and clarified that he does not have an active role in any negotiations related to the encampment. He said that he has been receiving “various reports” and wants to ensure that they are “correct truth.”

When asked about safety given clashes between protesters and counter protesters at Columbia University and University of California at Los Angeles, Krasner brought up Brown University, where students voluntarily took down their encampment after administrators agreed to discuss and vote on divestment from companies connected to the Israeli military.

Krasner added that his job was to uphold the Constitution.

“The First Amendment comes from here, this is Philadelphia, we don’t have to do stupid like they did at Columbia,” Krasner said. “What we should be doing here is upholding our tradition of being a welcoming, inviting city, where people say things, even if other people don’t like them.”

Gauthier said that she does not want there to be arrests for protesting or any use of force to dismantle the encampment.

“I came here to support the students, they have a right to protest, they have a right to free speech,” Gauthier said. “And I’m hoping that Penn recognizes that.”

According to Gauthier, despite efforts to reach out to Interim Penn President Larry Jameson to express that sentiment, he has not made himself available. She encouraged Jameson and Penn administrators to negotiate with the students in good faith and said that the best way to “resolve the encampment” was through direct communication with the people protesting.

Gauthier’s chief of staff visited the encampment on Friday to offer solidarity on her behalf.

Krasner left the encampment around 2:20 p.m., and Gauthier left around 2:35 p.m. after speaking briefly with Penn Police.