Penn State Protesters March Against Palestinian Genocide

On Saturday, a group of around 100 people, including many Penn State students, marched though Penn State’s campus and downtown State College protesting what they saw as a genocide against the Palestinian people in the Middle East.

The protest reached its culmination at Penn State’s Old Main, where the group rallied for speeches and chants. The group held dozens of signs and flags in front of the building, saying President Neeli Bendapudi and Penn State’s Board of Trustees supported the conflict in the Middle East.

The protest, which emphasized the Palestine-Israel conflict, also included messages about socialism and communism, arguing Penn State was oppressing its students and employees.

The group was led by the United Socialists at Penn State, a club listed on the university’s OrgCentral website and Penn State Students for Justice in Palestine.

The group began its protest at the Allen Street Gates. It then turned westbound down College Avenue, turning left onto South Atherton Street, and then continued down East Beaver Avenue. As it marched through the streets, the group halted traffic as it clogged the roads. The group said it did not have a permit to protest and walked through the streets without official protection, though police cars did stop traffic near the protest.

The group made its way back onto campus, finishing its march adjacent to the Willard Building as it continued toward Old Main.

At Old Main, half a dozen uniformed police officers, including a Pennsylvania state trooper, State College Police, and Penn State Police, stood watch over the protest. A group of four students stood between the officers and the protestors, seemingly forming a barrier. Many group members wore masks, which they said were both to avoid the spread of disease and to avoid being identified.

One student protestor using a megaphone repeatedly said that police wanted to stop groups like theirs every time there was a protest. The police took no action to stop the protest. However, those communicating via radio said they wanted to ensure the students would disperse at the end of the protest.

During the protest, those involved repeated a series of chants. They included, “Bendapudi, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” and, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

After spending around 30 minutes near the steps of Old Main, the group moved down to the lawn, posing for pictures first.

The group stood in a circle there and continued to chant as participants slowly dispersed. The rally concluded at 5:15 p.m. after an hour of protesting. Officers left the scene 15 minutes later.

Posters protesting the conflict were left on the doors of Old Main after the demonstration concluded.

During the protest, the group promised it would continue protesting for Palestine when classes returned in August.

Penn State’s protest came after a series of similar protests at USC, Columbia, Indiana, and others. At other universities, arrests of students and protesters have been documented, though this did not happen at Penn State.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He covers Penn State football, among other Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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