New Orleans Tulane and Loyola students join nationwide walkout
New Orleans, LA – On November 9, over 100 students from Tulane and Loyola Universities held a march for the national “Shut it Down for Palestine” day of action.
At 1 p.m., students walked off their campuses and gathered for a march. Before marching, the crowd practiced chants and took up signs from the organizers while listening to the first speech of the day. “They have the nerve to accuse us of hate speech, when Israel says Palestinians are human animals?” said Serena Sojic-Borne, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization in response to the baseless accusations made by enemies of the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Participants filled the streets behind a truck from which Palestinian youths chanted “Palestine is our mission, no more war with our tuition!” The Pro-Palestine crowd dwarfed the small number of Zionist counter-protesters. Tulane administration ultimately sent the Zionists away, despite publicly condemning the protesters that Zionists attacked at the previous Tulane rally.
The protesters made their way down the streets to the Tulane President’s Mansion, blocking traffic in front of both campuses. There, speakers directed their ire at the mansion and condemned the Zionist movement. “Nothing about Judaism demands the subjugation of the Palestinian people. I have practiced Judaism all my life and not once did it demand Zionism from me,” said a member of Tulane SDS. Students chanted “Shame, shame, shame!” at the building and President Fitts.
Speakers also told the crowd about the four protesters facing charges from their last rally on the campus. “We demand that the Tulane Police Department drop the charges and that Loyola and other universities stop giving information to the cops! We demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel and we demand a free Palestine within our lifetimes!” shouted Blu DiMarco, a member of Loyola SDS. In addition to these demands, SDS members also called upon Tulane police to charge those that instigated the violence at the previous protest.
At the end of the march, students were encouraged to join a larger march downtown to protest the “innovation embassy,” a technological and cultural exchange agreement between the port of New Orleans and the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Organizations that planned these events are Tulane and Loyola’s Students for a Democratic Society chapters, Tulane4Palestine, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Other walkouts occurred simultaneously at the University of New Orleans and Ben Franklin High School.