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U of U officials speak about efforts made to ease day 2 of pro-Palestinian protest

University of Utah officials released a statement Tuesday after 20 arrests were made in two days during what started as a peaceful protest in Presidents Circle.

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

U of U staff said protesters began gathering on April 29. At 6 p.m. on April 30, about 200 people gathered at Presidents Circle, holding signs and waving Palestinian flags.

PREVIOUS REPORTING: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators demonstrate at Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake County Metro Jail

Ahead of Day 2 of the protest, U of U authorities said they had distributed flyers with legal guidelines. “The university commends the peaceful nature of the protests, which were expressed with dignity and conducted in a lawful manner,” the university statement said.

One arrest was made on Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of arrests during the two-day protest to twenty.

All of these arrests were reportedly based on disorderly conduct, trespassing and failure to disperse.

By 8 p.m., the group had moved from the U of U to the Salt Lake County Jail, where they continued to protest.

“The university reiterates its support for free speech. Protesters are welcome to continue expressing their views in a peaceful and legal manner,” officials said. “If tents are erected or there is unlawful occupancy or trespass, the university will enforce the law.”