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Mayor of Bloomington “stands” with demonstrators and faults IU and state police for their handling of the matter



Bloomington, Indiana – Mayor Kerry Thomson urged the Indiana State Police to deal with demonstrators who have established encampments on the Indiana University campus by employing de-escalation strategies as opposed to using force.

The mayor made that call in a statement that she made public on Sunday, outlining the remarks she had made the day before.

“I also spoke of the need to remain peaceful in protesting and ensure de-escalation rather than use of force. I was not clear in that statement,” the mayor said. “I was referring to the State police advance on peaceful protesters when I believe all routes to de-escalation had not been met.”

According to Thomson, she has given the Bloomington Police Department the order to refrain from taking part in the dismantling of the encampments, which has resulted in numerous arrests and violent altercations between demonstrators and police opposing the war in Gaza.

Concerns regarding whether or not the university requested assistance from Bloomington Police have gone unanswered by the mayor’s office. That similar question has been declined by the university.
23 demonstrators were taken into custody by state police on Saturday, according to the university, after they refused to take down their tents in defiance of a directive that had just been approved a few days prior.

Since 1969, the university has maintained a policy that permits demonstrators to erect makeshift shelters in Dunn Meadow without obtaining prior authorization, provided that the shelters are dismantled between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

However, the policy was changed the day before the protests started to forbid demonstrators from building any kind of structure—temporary or permanent—without first obtaining permission from the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life and University Events.

When protests started on Thursday, the university invited the Indiana State Police to come on campus to assist in enforcing the policy. That day, the police made almost thirty arrests.

While urging more communication between the university and the community it calls home, Thomson refrained from criticizing the university outright.

“I hope that in the future, there will be greater communication and collaboration with our team when Indiana University undertakes actions that affect all of Bloomington, not just campus,” Thomson said.

The protesters have allegedly received multiple verbal warnings from Indiana University Police to take down their tents and canopies before an officer arrives to forcibly disperse the encampments. According to IUPD, the demonstrators were also informed that if they had taken down the buildings, they would have been permitted to stay in Dunn Meadow.

“The Indiana State Police stands by the statements and new releases issued by Indiana University Police Department on Thursday and Saturday,” Sgt. Kevin Getz said.

In spite of the earlier evacuations, demonstrators established a new camp on Sunday.



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