AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Court cases continue for those arrested at UMass Amherst as police were called in to clear a pro-Palestine encampment on campus in May.

There were a total of 130 UMass students, UMass faculty members, and people from the community at large arrested who refused to abide by the University’s demands to remove their tents and barriers following hours of unrest.

Protesters who were arrested were arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on varying charges of trespassing, failing to disperse, rioting, and resisting arrest. Each case will now be heard before Judge Bruce S. Melikian in batches of around 20 defendants which is expected to last into next week.

So far, four people have accepted dispositions by agreeing to a four-month diversion program. If they can stay out of trouble, the charges will be dropped. Sixteen people scheduled for a pre-trial conference on Monday have been continued to September 16th due to further time requested to consult with an attorney.

“As our prosecutors have reviewed hundreds of hours of police bodycam footage, they have offered defendants dispositional arrangements that are in keeping with their behavior at the time of arrests. Our office sees no reason to be punitive to defendants who were peacefully protesting, engaging with democracy. and exercising their right to speak freely,” said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan. “We believe the offer of a diversion opportunity is just and fair, in keeping with the circumstances of each case.”

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