Area Labor Federation Condemns Police Violence and Mass Arrests at UMass


Massachusetts State Police arresting students and bystanders on the UMass campus on May 7, 2024. Photo: Instagram

Source: Western Mass Area Labor Federation

The Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation (WMALF) voted unanimously at its delegate meeting on May 13 to pass a resolution condemning the police violence and mass arrests of nonviolent protesters at the Gaza solidarity encampment at UMass Amherst on May 7, and called for UMass Chancellor Javier Reyes’ resignation. 

The resolution condemns the decision by Reyes to call in 117 police vehicles and police helicopters to arrest and detain over 130 peaceful protesters. The decision by the WMALF follows a joint statement released on May 8 by the five largest unions at UMass, each affiliates of the WMALF, that condemned the administration’s actions as “tantamount to inviting police violence”.

Regarding the delegate body’s decision to pass this resolution, WMALF president Jeff Jones said “The history of the university experience in this country has often contained student protests. We don’t think that there is any justification for a police crackdown on a peaceful assembly on any college campus.”

The WMALF’s resolution noted that the police, equipped with riot gear, endangered undergraduate and graduate students, union workers, alumni, and local community members including children, by using pepper spray, tasers, shoving, kicking and violently throwing protesters to the ground, and leaving arrestees in zip ties overnight in the Mullins Center arena without access to bathrooms.

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