In light of recent events in the Middle East that have taken the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, students led on-campus demonstrations Friday. The two demonstrations took place concurrently on Trousdale Parkway.
During the last week, more than 400 rockets have been fired from Hamas in the direction of Israel. The rockets come in response to Israel’s recent killing of Hamas’ military chief, Ahmed Jabari, on Wednesday. Israeli air, sea and land operations on Gaza have killed several Palestinian civilians, including children.
The grass roots protests were organized by students the day before and advertised to the student body on social networking sites, such as Facebook. Though not affiliated with any student organization on campus, the demonstrations included approximately 20 people in support of each cause. Several more students passing by the center of campus offered their support for the demonstrators on either side. Demonstrators held flags and signs representing the conflict in either Palestine or Israel.
Both demonstrations stressed that they were not trying to conflict with the other one.
Student demonstrator Linda Fawaz, an international relations global business major, was among demonstrators trying to highlight the violence against Palestinian civilians.
“We felt like we needed to bear our signs,” Fawaz said. “This demonstration came out of necessity. We need to do something.”
The demonstrators supported the idea of a cease-fire in the Middle East between the two countries. Many students involved in the demonstration, also took place in a protest at the Los Angeles Consulate on Thursday. Because the protest was nonviolent it inspired students to hold one on campus.
Students who stood with Israel also hoped their demonstration would be peaceful. Friday morning organizers released 500 balloons, which represented a partition of rockets fired toward Israel in the last year. The demonstrators hoped that their demonstration could be used to inform the student body of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
Sarah Sax, a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism, garnered attention for the event on campus and has been following the conflict closely.
“I hope people are just aware,” Sax said. “If we engage students in educated dialogue I believe there will be some change.”
Some students responded to the tension in the demonstrations by sitting in the middle of Trousdale and playing “Why Can’t We Be Friends.”
Students are planning a protest for Monday afternoon on Trousdale to raise more awareness about the conflict.