UNC Students Hold Peaceful Protest in Solidarity With Gaza Conflict

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A student at the protest sporting a custom canvas promoting peace for Palestine.

Early this morning, a collection of 14 University of Northern Colorado students met at 7:00 a.m. near Gunter Hall. They each wore face coverings and held signs in support of Palestine.

These students organized a protest overnight, marching proudly through central and west campus. Chants were heard loud and clear, the loudest being, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

However, when the students reached their destination, they fell silent.

“Today, we ask that you engage in a thoughtful silence for Palestine within the McKee breezeway,” said Breanna Bailey, a senior political science major and conflict manager for the protest. “Join us for a peaceful, silent community engagement.”

The group of students who have called themselves “Greeley Students for Palestine” have organized a peaceful protest on UNC’s campus over the conflict in Gaza. Over the past few days, they have designed flyers, signs and art pieces in dedication to the ongoing events.

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“This is a non-violent, peaceful protest and it’s calling for the end of genocide against Palestinian people,” said Ozzy, a Colorado-native nursing major who was one of the organizers of the protest who wished to keep their last name omitted from the record. “We are calling for a permanent cease-fire as of today, and advocating for the freedom of the Palestinian people.”

Since Hamas’ initial attack on October 7, the death count has risen to 34,000, with nearly 70% being women and children. Concurrently, 97 of these casualties have been journalists or media workers.

“The deaths of children, the massacre of these families, it’s on an unprecedented scale. We have not seen child death rates this high in any conflict,” said Ethan, a conflict manager who also requested not to have their last name included.

Over the weekend, almost 300 college protestors across the United States have been arrested over protests being held on campuses such as Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., with large police forces in riot gear breaking up encampments.

At UNC, the Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, and Senior Case Manager have reached out to the UNC police department and reinforced the student’s rights to protest. The protestors have done extensive research on the rules for on-campus protesting, and have formulated plans and contingencies in case things go poorly.

Officers visited the protestors after they had set up in the McKee Breezeway to hear their policies and to make sure that no laws were being infringed, while offering their support to the student protesters.

“What we do here sets a precedent for other protests going forward, we wanted to make sure we did this right,” Ethan said.

While occupying the campus, the organizers have planned multiple events over the next week to promote student involvement such as bringing food and beverages for those staying prolonged amounts of time along with art supplies for making demonstration signs.

 Students who have finals exams are also included in the planning, with a check list to make sure that students are able to remain successful academically as well.

“It is our finals week,” Ozzy said. “We do still need to study and we still need to pass them.”

For students unable to attend the opening march across campus, the demonstrators aim to remain at McKee for the duration of finals week. Ozzy urges students to push the movement forward on social media, and to talk about the protest in all the communities that it can be discussed in.

“I know there’s going to be some backlash for it, but I hope that it helps inspire other people who have the same feelings about the conflict,” Ethan said. “I hope it can help us all rally together.”

If anyone is interested and wants to see what the group is about or wants to learn more, go to @unco_gsp on Instagram to stay up to date.

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