Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Pro-Palestine protestors set up tents outside of Old Main, three arrests made

The deadline to clear the area outside Old Main is 11 p.m. tonight. The event is similar to ones happening at universities nationwide, including Columbia and USC


Pro-Palestine protestors occupying the Alumni Lawn outside of Old Main in an encampment called the "ASU Liberated Zone" on Friday, April 26, 2024, in Tempe.

Pro-Palestine protestors set up an encampment on Alumni Lawn outside of Old Main this morning, which they are calling the "ASU Liberated Zone." Protestors were still there after sunset. The group's demands include a ceasefire in Gaza and for ASU to divest from Israel. There were three arrests in the morning, according to an ASU police spokesperson.

The area where the encampment is set up is reserved by the University. According to an ASU representative, tents are not allowed anywhere on campus.

The deadline to clear the area is 11 p.m. tonight, according to an ASU spokesperson.

Earlier in the morning, ASU PD removed existing tents before protestors rebuilt them and established a perimeter. Lexsiri Coronado, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said the police also "cut up" tents and "tore them down."

"When we first set up encampment here, (the police) started pushing around students," Coronado said.

Chants of "Free, Free Palestine" and "Genocide Crow has got to go" rang across the lawn as protestors continued to trickle in. A small number of counter-protestors appeared, but the protest remained mostly peaceful as it continued into the afternoon.

"I think the police presence is ridiculous because we are solely here for a peaceful protest," Alyssa Romero, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said.

The encampment remains set up and secure as of publishing.

James Rund, the interim athletic director and the vice president of educational outreach and student services, said the University wants to ensure everything remains as peaceful as possible.

"The longer they are here, the less likely it's possible for us to show that, so we'll hope to disperse the crowd soon," Rund said at around 10:45 a.m. "And we need help from local law enforcement to do that."

READ MORE: ASU administrator collects SJP petition at protest on Tempe campus

The protestors were encouraged by Imam Omar of Tempe Mosque, who is a chaplain for Muslim Students at ASU, to remain calm and not to instigate.

"Do not let them harass any police officers," he said to the crowd. "That defeats the message and puts you guys in more danger, so please keep the peace and keep your voices loud, but do not harass any police officers."

Some protestors remained closer to the street, away from the encampment. Nicholas Brancaccio, a member of Revolutionary Communists of America, said some people were staying away after they saw the police make arrests. 

"Right over here, it's on the other side of the public line," Brancaccio said. "There's a couple of people here who have been trespassed ... I'm watching some of our stuff here, and a couple of people here can't go on to the other side."

Carson Carpenter, the president of College Republicans at Arizona State University, said around 10:20 a.m. that the police presence was greater than he had seen at pro-Palestine protests in the past.

"I've seen bigger Palestinian protests with no police presence actually on campus earlier in the year," Carpenter said. "I think it's very good as long as they keep it peaceful, and I think the cops are respecting that as long as they keep it peaceful and keep the order."

Suzanne Distaso, a protestor at the event, was one of two individuals carrying a crinkled "Ceasefire" sign.

"This sign has been to the World Series, rallies, marches, press conferences," she said. "We never expected it to be used so long ... We were Vietnam-era protestors, and this is reminiscent now of back then."

Protestors yelled "The whole world is watching," a Vietnam-era chant, as the police approached the encampment.

The demonstration is similar to ones happening across the nation at colleges such as Columbia, University of Texas at Austin and USC.

ASU released a statement that ASU Police made multiple arrests because of "unauthorized encampment."

"Encampments and unlawful assembly are prohibited on Arizona State University property unless they are part of a university-sanctioned activity," the statement said. "Individuals found setting up unapproved encampments will be directed to dismantle them immediately and failure to comply may result in arrest. ASU is committed to maintaining a secure environment for everyone."

The protest grew to what looked like over 300 people as it continued into the night. A University staff member, who joined the protest in the evening, said they feared for their job but knew the importance of unity on the Alumni Lawn. 

"I don't think at all (the police) plan on being peaceful the whole way," he said. "I'm really nervous about it but what matters is all of us being unified together."

@statepress ASU students and community members gathered outside of Old Main in Tempe, creating an encampment, as part of a pro-Palestine protest. The event is similar to ones happening at universities nationwide, including Columbia and USC. #asu #arizonastate #palestine #israel #columbia #usc #protests #breakingnews #encampment ♬ original sound - statepress

Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:53 p.m. This is a developing story and may be updated further.

Edited by Sadie Buggle and Angelina Steel.

Reach the reporters at,, and, and follow @emphasisonno,  @shanebrennan36, and @alysa_horton on X. 

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on X.

River GrazianoScience and Technology Editor

River Graziano has been the Science and Technology editor at The State Press since Spring 2023. They are from Phoenix, Arizona, and currently study creative writing and engineering.

Shane BrennanEditor-in-Chief

Shane Brennan is the Editor-in-Chief at The State Press. He was a sports and politics reporter, before becoming the editor of the politics desk. He has covered local and state politics for the Arizona Capitol Times and Cronkite News.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.