Protesters march across campus in support of Palestine


Sydney Laput

Sara Hijab and D’Meneca Turner-Winston, freshmen from Parkland College, listen to the speakers speaking in front of the Swanlund Administration Building on Monday. The march, organized by the Students of Justice in Palestine, was in response to Israeli police raiding the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Friday.

By Lika Lezhava and Willie Cui

Protesters gathered in front of Foellinger Auditorium and marched across campus on Monday, April 18, in response to Israeli police raiding the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Friday, April 15.

“Just a couple of days ago, Israeli occupation forces raided our beloved (Al-Aqsa Mosque) during the holiest month of the year for Muslims,” said Buthaina Hattab, senior in LAS and president of Students for Justice in Palestine, the RSO that organized the protest.

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Aaron Dille, junior in AHS and member of SJP, noted the mosque is a holy site for many Palestinians and said the attack, which occurred during Ramadan, was “very disrespectful and reeks of destroying culture itself — destroying people.” 

The protesters marched from Foellinger Auditorium to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, then to the Illini Hillel and the Swanlund Administration Building, before concluding the march at Alma Mater. 

The protest raised some concerns for the Illini Hillel, which was providing kosher food for Jewish students celebrating Passover. 

Erez Cohen, Executive Director of the Illini Hillel, said they found out about the protest the day before, and some students were concerned it could turn violent. 

Cohen also said a “verbal attack” occurred at the Hillel during the protest and that someone threw something at the building for which the Hillel “will need to check our cameras.”

“When people come to the Jewish center to yell against Israel, they’re creating an equation between any Jewish person and the state of Israel,” Cohen said. “That’s singling out an entire community based on a country that’s miles away.”

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