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August 17, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

West Bank blockade blocks quad

Free Palestine Group wants your weapons, ya dirty terrorist!

Students last week were stopped in their tracks by a small group of protestors in the quad.

Armed with plastic rifles, the Free Palestine Group constructed a makeshift blockade from traffic cones across an accessway to the quad.

The group said they wanted to raise awareness of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in occupied territories.

“We want to promote Palestinian freedoms and rights to a homeland while highlighting the atrocities of the Israeli War,” one protester told Salient.

“Some Palestinians are held at checkpoints for hours, some are given arbitrary detention and some are even shot.”

Protestors asked students to produce identification as they passed through the blockade.

As questioning continued, some students became agitated with the demonstration.

The Free Palestine Group had previously set up a mock blockade at another location in the quad, before they were asked to leave by CampusCare.

The protestors briefly retreated to the Student Union Building, before moving back to the Quad, setting up the blockade on the main stairs leading down to the driveway.

By the time Salient arrived on the scene, the Free Palestine Group had been interrogating “suspected terrorists” at this location for almost twenty minutes.

There was a mixed response among the student body regarding the nature of the protest.

While many students smiled quizzically and presented ID cards, others simply jumped the blockade and continued walking.

“Most of the students are quite supportive,” a representative of the Free Palestine Group told Salient.

“A few are a bit irritated, but for the most part we’ve got a light-hearted response.”

Campus Care told the protesters to remove themselves from the area, after a complaint was lodged by a student.

Neither protestors nor Campus Care moved to vacate the stairwell.

Tensions peaked when Campus Care took possession of a traffic cone used to make the blockade.

“It’s every student’s free right to be able to travel in all areas of campus without disruption,” a representative of Campus Care told Salient at the protest.

“They are obstructing access, preventing students from being able to walk about and blocking a stairwell, which could lead to safety issues.”

Campus Care said that they felt the manner in which the Free Palestine Group had brought attention to their cause was inappropriate and disruptive.

Fighting a losing battle with Campus Care, the Free Palestine Group quietly gathered their traffic cones and moved off site.

A copy of Article13 of the International Declaration of Human Rights left behind at the protest was taken by Salient as a souvenir.


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