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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Palestine protesters march through NIU’s campus

Sean Reed
NIU student protesters march down the permanently closed Normal Road near the MLK Commons. Palestine protesters marched through NIU’s campus on Monday. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – On Monday, 43 students marched through NIU’s campus past DuSable Hall and down Lucinda Avenue, chanting “free, free Palestine” and “if we don’t get it, shut it down.”

Students gathered at 2:30 p.m. around the Balance of Equality sculpture in the MLK Commons and passed out posters and drums in preparation for the march.

At 2:44 p.m. protesters started marching toward DuSable Hall from the MLK Commons.

Nicholas McKay, a junior Japanese studies major, said he came to the protest right after class.

“I was really happy to just march around and be as loud as we could to grab as much attention as we could,” McKay said. “I really loved feeling the passion of everyone here and I love being a part of that passion. We are just doing this for what we believe in.”

The protesters marched through parking lot C, south down Lucinda, in the street and back toward the MLK Commons.

They stood at the MLK Commons and listened to speeches before marching the same route again but then ending at the traffic light at Lucinda and Normal Road.

Two students, Nate Wray, a sophomore jazz performance major and trumpet player, and Charlie Watson, a senior jazz performance major and saxophone player, improvised on their instruments throughout the march.

Wray said the instruments weren’t planned.

“We have shown up to past protests with our instruments before, but we never had the idea to use them until someone suggested it today,” Wray said.

Watson said he believes the protest was a success.

“I’ve been to some of the other protests and this one definitely had the best energy and more people showed up,” Watson said.

During the protest, Rayan Misbah, a little boy, led the chant “free, free Palestine.”

Michael Ingram said the protest today proves that many people are willing to stand up.

“It proves that we can lead the intifada, we can lead this revolution to stop Israel from committing this horrible genocide,” Ingram said.

Bayan Abuihmoud, a senior engineering major and president of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club, and Sarah Salem, a junior elementary education major, spoke about their family and friends’ experiences in Gaza.

“Everyone was heading toward Ramallah. From my village to Ramallah, you’re talking like a two-hour walk and this is in the hot, hot weather,” Abuihmoud said.  “So he (her father) had a little brother his mom was carrying on her head. On their way to Ramallah, his little brother passed away from the heat and they had to stop, bury him and continue without him.”

Salem said students should let their rights as Americans fuel their voice and demand to be heard.

“There are a lot encampments to protest the genocide going on in Gaza and what we are as well to do,” Salem said. “Not the encampment but we are here to protest and raise awareness and to let people know that we, as students, are not going to stay quiet.”

Alex Pitner, associate director of Student Organization and Leadership, monitored the entire protest.

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