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University of Florida students rally against Gaza massacre

By staff |
November 17, 2012
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Protest in Gainesville, FL against massacre in Gaza
Protest in Gainesville, FL against massacre in Gaza (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Gainesville, FL – A massive Palestinian flag with the words “Free Palestine” was raised in Turlington Plaza Nov. 15 as 40 students gathered to condemn the massacre in Gaza. Gainesville Area Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized the protest in response to the latest wave of brutal Israeli attacks, which claimed the lives of dozens of Palestinians.

SDS leaders chanted “Free, free Palestine!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” They carried signs that read, “Stop the massacre in Gaza” and “Occupy Wall Street, not Palestine.” Several protesters wore duct tape over their mouths to symbolize the suppression of Palestinian voices in the corporate media. As crowds of students walked by on their way to class they heard the chants, saw the signs and decided to join the protesters, doubling the size of the demonstration.

Speakers talked about the long history of oppression and brutalization suffered by the Palestinian people. “This is not an isolated incident,” said Pamela Maldonado, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society. “Palestine has been under occupation for more than half a century. We demand freedom, justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people!”

Other speakers commented on the insidious role played by the U.S. government in providing billions of dollars of funding, weapons and political support for the Zionist regime. Skye Schmelzer from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, “Not only does our government provide material support for Israel but they arrest Palestinian solidarity activists here at home.” She cited the case of the Holy Land Five political prisoners and the bogus investigation of Hatem Abudayyeh, one of the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists raided by the FBI and subpoenaed to a grand jury in Chicago. The 23 solidarity activists refused to testify at the grand jury and have built a broad fight back campaign.

The rally closed with everyone pledging, as the Israeli invasion continues, to make every effort to organize another protest in solidarity with Palestine and oppose U.S. funding for Israel.

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