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MN stands with Rafah and U of MN students fighting for divestment

By Meredith Aby

Protest on the Minneapolis U of MN campus demands divestment from apartheid Israel.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Minneapolis, MN – On May 9, 200 community members rallied with students and staff at the University of Minnesota outside of the McNamara Alumni Center. The rally was called by the Free Palestine Coalition to draw attention to Israel’s genocidal attacks on Rafah and to put pressure on the University of Minnesota’s board of regents who were meeting the next day to hear from the Divest UMN Coalition’s demands at their public meeting.

Juli Zenker, worker at the U and a member of AFSCME 3800, who attended the rally, stated, “The situation in Rafah is critical not only because of the sheer number of people there, but because, politically, Biden claimed that this was a red line. We need to keep the pressure going for the United States government to end its direct complicity with the ongoing genocide, and we need the University of Minnesota board of regents, which often posits its desire to engage in reparative measures for harms of the past and failures of the present, to set a standard for the rest of the world.”

Tracy Molm, an organizer with the MN Climate Justice Committee, was also moved to come to show solidarity with the students and explained, “Students are at the front lines of opposing the genocide in Gaza. Just like students have always been at the front of struggles for justice in the United States – like against the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa and segregation in the South.”

The protest was held during the busy time of graduation season at the U of MN. Graduates and their families walked by throughout the protest. During the protest members of Students for a Democratic Society and Students for Justice in Palestine decorated their graduation hats for their upcoming ceremonies on Sunday, May 12.

Andrew Josefchak was the emcee for the protest and encouraged participants to join an organization in the Free Palestine Coalition so that they can challenge U.S. support for Israel. He also told the crowd to show up for Al Nakba on May 15 when the Free Palestine Coalition will lead a march in downtown Minneapolis after a rally at Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office at 1200 Washington Avenue S starting at 5:30 p.m.

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