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Mar 11, 20

“Tear Gas Can’t Stop Us”: Police Fire Projectiles at Ohio Students After School Moves to Close Due to Coronavirus

In Dayton, Ohio, a massive crowd of students gathered after being told on Tuesday evening that they had less than 24 hours to remove themselves from campus and student housing. Soon after, the crowd was attacked by riot police, who fired projectiles weapons.

According to Dayton Daily News, the incident began earlier on Tuesday, when news was released that:

All UD students are asked to leave campus by 6 p.m. Wednesday — three days ahead of the start of spring break — and head home, it announced Tuesday evening.

In response, a massive crowd of students began gathering outside of student housing. University officials claim that police attacked the crowd due to individuals throwing bottles and jumping on cars. Videos from student outlet, Flyer News, show a massive crowd of students blocking streets, jumping on several cars, and chanting. Students have reported that police shot off tear gas, while local news media claims that this was in fact projectile pepper balls. Regardless, Flyer News reports that students at the scene were seen vomiting from what was being fired by police. On social media, one student tweeted, “Tear gas can’t stop us.” Several police agencies were marshaled in the operation to clear the streets, which reportedly took until 2:15 AM.

According to students who spoke with local news:

“We were all kind of shocked, being gassed was kind of crazy. Its one of the last nights I have on campus as a senior; I’m just trying to make the best of it,” Chris Rose said.

“At first it was just some of our friends who are seniors all getting together and hanging out on Lowes before we had to go away for about three weeks or more. And then it kind of escalated,” senior Lena Richardson said.

“Police kind of took it the wrong way and started gassing everyone. We were all coughing. Several people had to come inside my house to recover from it,” said Richardson.

In a media statement, University of Dayton officials wrote:

“A large disorderly crowd that grew to more than 1,000 people gathered on Lowes Street starting around 11 p.m., throwing objects and bottles in the street and at police, and jumping on cars. Police gave verbal orders to disperse which were ignored. Police initially launched pepper balls, which contain powder with an irritant that disperses quickly, that were unsuccessful in reducing the crowd size. About 2:15 a.m., UD police and additional Dayton police again gave orders to disperse and moved to clear the street, which was effective in dispersing the crowd quickly. At least one person was reportedly injured by a thrown bottle.”

In an attempt to get a perspective from a student on the ground, It’s Going Down reached out to Grant Kelly, who was tweeting live at last night’s scene. When asked about students feelings towards having to leave the campus and the response from the police, they wrote:

[M]ost students aren’t happy about either. We’re frustrated about being forced out of housing that we’ve paid for. Also feel like the police abused their power last night. In the opinion of everyone I’ve talked to, [pepper] balls were certainly not necessary; especially once the street was cleared and they kept firing them at students on porches.

Clashes between police and University of Dayton students is nothing new. In both 2013 and 2018, police in riot gear attempted to clear a student neighborhood, resulting in clashes.

 

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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