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Student protests over Israel-Palestine conflict begin on UW campuses

The protest drew in an estimated 300 people at its peak on Monday.

Student protests over Israel-Palestine conflict begin on UW campuses

Source: Terry Bell / Civic Media

April 30, 2024 9:59 AM CDT
By: Jimmie Kaska

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MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – A national trend of student protests and encampments arrived at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee on Monday.

The pro-Palestinian protests are in response to policies and funding for Israel.

On Library Mall at UW-Madison, hundreds of students began their protest Monday morning, and several camped out overnight.

Tents were set up on the UW-Madison campus on April 29, 2024 after a pro-Palestine protest began that morning. UW officials said the tents needed to be removed as they violated state and university law. (Photo by Terry Bell / Civic Media)

UW officials released a statement on Monday, asking protestors to obey state and campus laws in making their voices heard.

“We recognize the deeply felt and passionate views held by those who are participating in today’s protest,” the statement said. “Campus representatives have engaged with members of the groups involved in today’s protest and have also shared protest guidelines with demonstration organizers.”

UW officials said in the statement that once tents were removed, they would be willing to meet with the protest’s organizers.

The Wisconsin protests drew statements from both sides of the political spectrum. Senator Tammy Baldwin said she supported the right to peacefully protest, but added that protesters need to obey the law.

“I support the right of students and community members to peacefully protest and have their voices heard,” Baldwin said. “But, no one is above the law and protests cannot threaten the safety of others or accept those who spew horrific antisemitism.”

Republican Senate candidate Eric Hovde called the protests “antisemitic.” He quote-tweeted Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden, who also labeled the protests antisemitic and asked Democratic members of Congress from Wisconsin to condemn them.

Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan, who voted against sending aid to Israel, said that the conflict in Gaza is not only a concern on college campuses, but in rural Wisconsin as well.

The group organizing the protests at UW-Madison, Students for Justice in Palestine, is calling for an end to the war and for UW-Madison to divest from companies that have business ties to Israel.

The estimated size of the protest was about 300 at its peak Monday.

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