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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU students host a walkout for Gaza

Gabby Crabtree
A crowd gathers around the NIU letters at the MLK Commons in support of Palestine. On Monday, the Students for Justice in Palestine put together a walkout. (Gabby Crabtree | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Nationwide protests to free Palestine on Monday blocked entrances into O’Hare International Airport, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge; NIU students hosted a walkout in MLK Commons to show their support.

From 2 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. Monday, 25 students gathered on and around the NIU letters in a Pro-Palestine protest.

Bayan Abuihmoud, a senior engineering major and president of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club, said the protest was to show solidarity with what is happening in Gaza and that life should not go on like normal while genocide is happening.

“Today is in solidarity with what is going on in Gaza. We are trying not to spend, we are trying to, you know, if you can not go to work, don’t go to work, don’t go to class or school if you can,” Abuihmoud said. 

Nicholas McKay, a junior Japanese major, said the administration can “kiss my a—.”

“Well, first of all, me standing here is an act of civil disobedience because they (the university) told me that they don’t want people standing on these letters,” McKay said.

McKay has planned Pro-Palestine protests in the past. 

“When I organized the sit-in, they wouldn’t let us sit inside, we had to be kicked outside on a day where it was very windy and chilly,” McKay said. “So that just kind of shows where their priorities are. They’re concerned about their property, about appearances, not about what’s going on.” 

NIU has locations mapped out of where student protests can happen without prior approval.

“Exterior spaces are available for this purpose (spontaneous protests) between 8-1 a.m.,” states NIU’s Procedures for Facilitating Policy Concerning Freedom of Expression

The university encourages protesters to register through its form regardless of location and time. 

McKay started a call and response chant.

“Lisa Freeman you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide,” McKay said.

Abuihmoud said although the crowd was not filled with hundreds of students, it was a good start and just as important.

“I got asked a few questions here or there. Just to be able to answer just one question made this even more worth it, so I definitely think it went very well,” Abuihmoud said.

Sarah Salem, a junior elementary education major, said boycotts of places like Starbucks and McDonalds are important to the overall protest.

“Global days of strike, the entire purpose of them is to send a message to the government because the only way they hear us is through money,” Salem said.

There were six Palestinian flags at the event and a banner that read “Stand with Palestine, stand with humanity.” 

Protesters passed flags and banners around.

Salem opened the walkout with a speech about why the SJP continues to protest. 

“We are on month six of the genocide and that’s why we are doing this walkout here today because it is important for us as students to constantly show up for each other, for our university and for everyone around us,” Salem said. “And to tell people and to continuously tell people that we do not stand for the genocide of innocent human beings.” 

The SJP planned the walkout and has also organized informational panels in the past. 

For more information about the group’s protests, students can contact the SJP Instagram

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