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Students march on Tempe campus to rally for Palestine amid regional conflict

Numerous student organizations participated in a rally on campus to show support for Palestine

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Palestine supporters hold up flags as speakers take turns voicing concerns and issues outside the Memorial Union at the ASU Tempe campus on Thursday Oct. 12, 2023. 

Students united in support of Palestine at the "Day of Resistance" rally as tensions continue in the Israel-Palestine region. 

The rally started outside of the Memorial Union and was sponsored by numerous on and off campus clubs, including Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU and Young Democratic Socialists Association at ASU.   

 "The university has reached out to all students from the affected areas to offer support and help," the University said in a statement regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict on Tuesday. "ASU is a place where diverse opinions and perspectives are valued, and we encourage respectful conversations that promote mutual understanding and empathy."

In an emailed statement Thursday about the rally, the University said "(ASU) neither endorses nor restricts opinions voiced at campus demonstrations ... ASU Police was present to ensure everyone's rights to non-violent expression were respected."

Starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the crowd heard from student speakers, then marched across Palm Walk and onto the Palm Walk Overpass, circling back to the Memorial Union for continued rallying. 

Batool Abuzeina, a junior studying biomedical engineering, said seeing over a hundred people rallied around her community felt like the recognition that she, and many others with ties to the region, have wanted. She said she goes to Palestine every summer and thinks the violence is going to "last longer than it usually does."

"This war is something that is really sad and we need all the support we can get. The more voices there are, the more people notice," Abuzeina said.

Students who participated in the rally supporting Palestine were also met by students supporting Israel, creating a tense atmosphere outside of the Memorial Union.

Students like Zahraa Alfatlawi, a freshman studying neuroscience, said that no one wants innocent lives to be taken, and she feels proud that Palestinians are being represented on campus. 

"(Palestinians) have suffered through every single kind of torture and suffering. The media likes to portray it like we’re the ones terrorizing," Alfatlawi said.

Many of those in attendance wore face coverings to conceal their identity with some fearing repercussions at their place of employment, in their day-to-day lives and for their safety. 

Samuel, a student at ASU who requested to only be identified by his first name, said he showed up to "rally long-term engagement and the cause of liberation for the Palestinian people."

"We're here to take a stand and say that they are right in the struggle for freedom," he said.

The event was one of many hosted by students in support of the "Free Palestine" movement with more planned in the coming weeks as conflict in the region continues.

Editor's note: The State Press is committed to fair coverage of our campus community. To read more about other perspectives on the ongoing conflict, click here. 

Edited by Shane Brennan, Jasmine Kabiri, Angelina Steel

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