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Pro-Palestinian protest at University of Arizona gets slightly heated

Protestors demand the school condemn what they deem as genocide against Palestinians by Israel
Palestinian Protest
Pro Palestine Protest
Palestinian Protest
Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 29, 2024

UPDATE 11:50 PM

The University of Arizona said students and community members would be allowed to stay until 10:30 P.M. and anyone on the campus after that would be arrested.

KGUN9 did not see anyone arrested and it appeared that everyone had cleared out by about 10, including their encampments.

However, throughout the day many chants and songs from pro-Palestine protesters could be heard throughout the university’s mall and campus.

The protest did get heated at times when pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters clashed, but there weren't many physical altercations.

Harlow Parkin, a member with Students Against Apartheid said they’re calling on the university to disclose all their dealings and financial ties with Raytheon, Caterpillar, and other corporations that could have ties with Israel.

“We are here in protest of the genocide in Gaza. We are here to make sure Palestine is central in all of our demands and our position on the war is that the University of Arizona has no business in dealing with warmongers here or abroad,” Parkin said.

Jennifer Loewenstein with Jewish Voices for Peace said she lived in Israel, the Gaza strip and in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. She said she’s against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

“Especially in Gaza, when people found out that my background was Jewish, they were even more welcoming,” Loewenstein said.

Jewish students and community members were also at the protest supporting Israel.

“I feel like seeing other people being proud to be Jewish makes me feel proud of my identity,” junior at the university Mazzie Cross said.

She said she recently volunteered at a farm in Israel during the war. She said Jewish people are still holding their values.

“People of Israel, they’re suffering, they’re hurting. They have tremendous trauma and losses and things they need to overcome. They feel alone,” she said. “As jewish people we are taught to love. We value life and peace.”

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Students at the University of Arizona joined a nationwide movement Monday, rallying in support of Palestinian human rights.

Dozens of students gathered near Old Main on the University Mall as they voiced their opposition to what they call the genocide of Palestinians by Israel.

The anonymous group of students who organized the encampment called on the university administration to condemn Israel's actions and to divest funds from companies such as Raytheon, which they allege could be profiting from the conflict.

"We are not going to shut up, we are not going to stop protesting, stop demanding these disclosures, divestments until our demands are met," said River, one of the organizers who preferred to only be identified by his first name.

Seth Wispelwey, a minister at the United Church of Christ and a supporter of the protest expressed his belief as to why the university hasn’t condemned Israel’s actions – alluding to the school’s ties with Raytheon, the second largest weapons manufacturer in the world.

"I believe the University of Arizona probably hasn’t condemned the genocide because they know they get so much money from Raytheon and those weapons and technologies are actively part of facilitating the genocide.”

In addition to condemning Israel's actions, the group demanded transparency regarding the university's financial relationships with Israel and weapons manufacturers.

The university issued a statement to KGUN 9 Monday afternoon, emphasizing its commitment to respecting students' free speech rights. However, it also stipulated that all non-academic activities must conclude by 10:30 p.m. to avoid potential legal consequences including arrest.

The full statement can be found below:

“The University of Arizona is committed to respecting and protecting the free speech rights of our students and the university. We are monitoring today’s event and are engaging in active conversations with the participants. University policy provides that non-academic activity on the mall and across the campus must conclude by 10:30 p.m. The university expects students, staff, and campus visitors to adhere to university policies. Those who do not disperse when requested will be subject to arrest.”
University of Arizona

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Kenny Darr is a reporter for KGUN 9. He joined the team in January 2023. Before arriving in Arizona he was an Anchor and Reporter at KADN in Lafayette, LA. Share your story ideas with Kenny by emailing kenny.darr@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.