About 200 people showed up on Tuesday for the second day of pro-Palestinian protests at the University of Utah. But the protest ended quickly after protesters decided to leave campus to head to the county jail, where they called for the release of one of the organizers who was arrested.

The rally and speeches were once again held on Presidents Circle on campus, but unlike Monday’s event, which included an estimated 300 protesters and lasted for more than seven hours before police broke it up, Tuesday’s protest was brief.

Protesters again demanded the University of Utah “disclose and divest from Zionism.” They chanted, “Disclose, divest. We will not stop, we will not rest.”

Protests have roiled campuses across the country in the past few weeks. On Tuesday night, the New York City Police Department was called in to clear the pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University, arresting around 100 protesters, according to news reports. The encampment at Columbia triggered a wave of copycats across the country following a rise in student activism against the war in Gaza.

The protests come as the war between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups has gone on for more than six months. It began when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of civilians. Over 240 hostages were taken, with 129 still in captivity. After the attacks, the Israeli military responded with an extensive aerial bombardment of Gaza beginning on Oct. 27, before launching a ground invasion, killing thousands in the months since.

At the University of Utah on Monday, 19 people were arrested after campus police and officers from other departments in the valley broke up the rally and took down approximately 20 tents after more than an hour of warnings. Of the 19 people arrested Monday, four were University of Utah students, one was an employee of the university and 14 had no current affiliation to the university, according to the university.

On Tuesday, an additional arrest was made of one of the rally’s leaders, University of Utah student Julio Irungaray, according to a university statement. Irungaray was arrested Tuesday on three charges: Trespassing, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse. He was also charged with resisting arrest.

There were no tents set up on Presidents Circle on Tuesday, but there were fiery speeches once again. One of the speakers referred to the police in derogatory terms and said the protesters were given papers on how they should be protesting. “Apparently, we live in a democracy, but it’s only a democracy when it fits the capitalist institutions,” the speaker said.

The paper handed out by the University of Utah on Tuesday gave protesters and demonstrators the “do’s” and “don’ts” of peaceful protesting and warned them about what would happen if unlawful protesting occurred.

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A statement by University of Utah President Taylor Randall was released on Tuesday evening after the second night of protests had ended.

“I ask for the community’s patience as we manage a complex situation and balance free expression with lawful conduct,” Randall said. “We are investing time and resources now to support free speech and prevent further escalation.”

When one protester was asked why they attended the protest, they told the Deseret News because they believe “there’s genocide in Gaza.”

“Not only genocide in Gaza, but I think the U.S.’s ties to it make it much more personal for me,” another protester said. “Because every day that we’re not disturbing the peace and every day that we’re not disrupting the status quo is another day there’s more money being sent and funding genocide. So that’s the main thing that makes it personal for me.”

“Also, I think it just, in general, it’s a very humanitarian struggle. It’s not very specific. Like obviously, the groups — Hamas and Israel — have religions that they’re affiliated with, but I don’t think religion has anything to do with the conflict,” he said. “Like, it seems like it’s pretty much oppression versus freedom. So it’s a very simple conflict. A very necessary one to fight for and be involved in.”

Of course, not everyone shares the same view of the conflict as the protesters.

Rabbi Sam Spector of Congregation Kol Ami previously told the Deseret News that the war has received a “disproportionate amount of attention compared to other conflicts in the world. We don’t see college students advocating for Ukraine this way or any other global conflict.”

He added, “For a lot of people in the Jewish community, like much of the anti-Israel sentiment out there, why is there such an intense focus on Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, and not on other conflicts taking place around the world that people should also be focused on?”

Tuesday’s protest continued at county jail

Within the first 45 minutes of the protests on Tuesday, which began at 6 p.m., the crowd dispersed and was told by rally leaders to move to the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where one of the protest leaders was being held.

“Every time we show up, we are learning how to multiply. We are learning how to organize ourselves more effectively,” one of the protest coordinators told the crowd as they dispersed Tuesday before 7 p.m.

More than a hundred protesters traveled to continue protesting in front of Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where Irungaray was being held.

Nick Stender, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who is not a student at the university but worked with students to organize the encampment, told the Deseret News that Irungaray’s arrest was a “clear targeting of leaders of the student movement.”

Protesters chanted about President Joe Biden, along with the Democratic and Republican parties, at both the college campus and jail.

Stender said Biden is funding the war. “This recent defense appropriations bill, which has just passed through Congress, is more evidence of the fact that the Biden administration is complicit in war crimes and also deserves to be punished at the ballot box.”

“We believe that the two-party system is united by the desire for war and imperialism. We believe that the only way to solve the problems facing humanity is to break through the two-party system and build a working-class socialist party that is actually able to serve the interests of the people,” Stender added.

Students at other college campuses in the state are also considering protesting. A press release was sent out on Tuesday for a similar protest to be held at Utah State University for three straight days from noon to 6 p.m., scheduled to begin Wednesday in Logan.

The University of Utah handed this out to protesters on April 30, 2024, on the second night of protests. | University of Utah