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A pro-Palestinian demonstration during graduation in Michigan

Photo: Jacob Hamilton Ann Arbor News via Associated Press The protest took place at the start of the event at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Philip Marcelo – Associated Press

Posted at 7:21 p.m.

  • United States

Protesters chanted anti-war messages and waved Palestinian flags during the commencement ceremony at the University of Michigan on Saturday.

< p>The protest took place at the start of the event at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. About 75 people, many wearing traditional Arabic keffiyehs and graduation caps, marched down the main aisle toward the stage where diplomas were presented.

< p>They chanted “Regents, regents, you cannot hide! You are financing the genocide! “, while brandishing signs, one of which bore the message “No more universities in Gaza.”

Above their heads, planes broadcast messages competitors, which read in part “Divest from Israel now! Liberate Palestine! » and “We stand with Israel. Jewish lives matter.”

Authorities said no one was arrested and the protest did not seriously disrupt the nearly-long event of two hours and attended by tens of thousands of people, some of whom waved Israeli flags.

A pro-Palestinian demonstration during graduation in Michigan

Photo: Katy Kildee Detroit News via Associated Press

State police blocked protesters from reaching the stage, and university spokeswoman Colleen Mastony said public safety personnel escorted protesters to the back of the stadium, where they remained until the end of the event.

“Peaceful protests like this take place during convocation ceremonies for decades at the University of Michigan,” she added.

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro paused several times during his speech, at one point saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, if you could please direct your attention again to the podium.”

Before administering the oath of office to armed forces graduates, he said they would “protect the freedoms we cherish so much,” including the “right to demonstrate peacefully.”

The university allowed protesters to set up an encampment on campus, but police helped disperse a large gathering at an event related to graduation Friday evening. One person was arrested.

More than 2400 arrests

The University of Michigan was among institutions preparing for protests during commencement ceremonies this weekend, including Indiana University, Ohio State University and Northeastern University in Boston. Many more are planned in the coming weeks.

At Indiana University, protesters urged supporters to wear their keffiyehs and leave the grounds during the speech by the rector, Pamela Whitten, Saturday evening. The Bloomington, Indiana, campus has designated a protest zone outside Memorial Stadium, where the ceremony is to take place.

A pro-Palestinian demonstration during graduation in Michigan

Photo: Katy Kildee Detroit News via Associated Press

Encampments of protesters calling on universities to stop doing business with Israel or with companies they say support the war in Gaza have spread to campuses across the United States in recent weeks, in an unprecedented student movement during this century. Some schools have reached agreements with protesters to end the protests and reduce the risk of disruption to final exams.

Many encampments have been dismantled and hundreds of protesters have been arrested in recent days. The Associated Press (AP) has counted at least 61 incidents in which arrests took place during protests on campuses across the country. More than 2,400 people were arrested on 47 different campuses. The figures are based on AP reports and statements from universities and law enforcement.

From solidarity »

In Princeton, New Jersey, 18 students went on a hunger strike to try to pressure the university to divest from Israel-linked businesses.

One of them, David Chmielewski, said in an email Saturday that the protest began Friday morning and that participants are consuming only water.

He maintained that this hunger strike will continue until university administrators meet with students about their demands, which include stopping criminal and disciplinary charges against protesters.

Other protesters are participating in 24-hour “solidarity fasts,” he said.

Princeton students set up a protest encampment and some staged an occupation at an administration building this week, leading to around 15 arrests.

By Elsewhere, police broke up a demonstration at the University of Virginia on Saturday, calling it an “unlawful assembly” in a message posted on the X platform.

Les Authorities did not say how many people were arrested.

Meanwhile, near Boston, students from Tufts University peacefully destroyed their protest encampment without police intervention, Friday evening. Protest organizers said in a statement that they were “deeply angry and disappointed” over the failure of negotiations with the university.

The protests follow the conflict between Israel and Hamas that began on October 7 when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage.

Promising to destroy Hamas, Israel launched an offensive in Gaza that killed more than 34,500 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to the health ministry of the Hamas-run territory. Israeli strikes have forced the displacement of most Gaza residents.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116