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Anti-Israel protest on Ole Miss campus shut down in less than hour

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

A group of protesters rallied on the campus of Ole Miss Thursday afternoon.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari | Magnolia Tribune

  • Counter-protestors greatly outnumbered protestors, sang Star Spangled Banner in response. Event broken up when food fight began.

A mostly peaceful protest was held on the campus of the University of Mississippi by a group going by the name UMiss for Palestine Thursday afternoon.

Social media posts on Instagram said the protest was scheduled to take place at 12:30 Thursday in the Circle on the campus of Ole Miss, but a previously planned event at that location forced the protest to be moved to Paul Johnson Commons.

The group of protesters shouted “Free, Free Palestine,” while marching to the protest area cordoned for them. They were followed by counter-protesters who shouted “USA, USA, USA.” Some profanities were heard. About halfway through the hour long protest, an impromptu rendition of the Star Spangled Banner rang out from the much larger crowd of counter-protesters.

What started as a small group of about a dozen anti-Israel protesters grew to several dozen as the nearly hour long event transpired, but the counter-protestors always had larger numbers. 

“We’re here at the University of Mississippi in solidarity with student protests for a free Palestine. We demand from the university of Mississippi to disclose all university endowment investments pertaining to Israel. To divest and end all relationships with military contractors such as Lockheed Martin that fuel the genocide in Palestine and end academic partnerships and study aboard programs with Israel. We want the university to publicly condemn the genocide occurring in Gaza, that’s why we’re here,” said a female protester who would only identify herself as D.M.

She said the group that organized the protest is called UMiss for Palestine, the same name listed on the Instagram account announcing the event.

Protests at universities across the nation have been occurring regularly after Hamas attacked Israel in October of last year. Some pro-Palestine protests at universities in other states have led to arrests, but while there was a lot of heckling toward the protesters at Ole Miss, the incident was quickly shut down after counter-protesters began throwing food and water bottles.  

At that point, law enforcement broke up the two groups, escorting the protesters to the School of Applied Sciences. The group of counter-protesters followed from a distance while continuing to heckle the protestors.

No injuries were reported and the event did not result in any arrests. 

“As a public institution, the University of Mississippi is committed to supporting the rights of our students, faculty and employees to express their views in a respectful manner and to assemble peacefully as enshrined in the First Amendment. While today’s demonstration was passionate and several protesters and counter-protesters received warnings from law enforcement over their actions, there were no arrests, no injuries reported, and the demonstration ended peacefully,” the university stated in a press release.

Gov. Tate Reeves said via Facebook Thursday morning that extra law enforcement was brought on campus to ensure a peaceful event transpired.

“I am aware of today’s scheduled protest on the campus of Ole Miss. Mississippi law enforcement is also aware. And they are prepared. Campus police, City, County, and State assets are being deployed and coordinated. We will offer a unified response with one mission: Peaceful protests are allowed and protected – no matter how outrageous those protesters views may seem to some of us. But unlawful behavior will not be tolerated. It will be dealt with accordingly. Law and order will be maintained!” Reeves said in the statement. 

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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