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Tampa community marches in support of student Gaza encampment

By Simon Rowe

Crowd marches carrying Palestinian flags lead by a group carrying a banner that reads "STOP THE USA-ISRAEL GENOCIDE IN GAZA"

Tampa, FL – On May 1, students at the University of South Florida began the third day of their Gaza solidarity encampment at the MLK Plaza. Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society started the encampment Monday after their Nakba anniversary protest. They demanded USF disclose and divest its investments in Israel, support Palestinian students and stop attacks on student movements.

On day three of the encampment, the Tampa Bay community rallied to support the student protesters and fight the anti-Palestine USF administration. The community gathered just outside of the university on the corner of 56th Street and Fowler Avenue.

The protest started with a press conference where it was announced that two Tampa Bay SDS members – Victoria Hinckley and Joseph Charry – are suspended and facing code of conduct charges for participating in the protest. Charry is an international student and now at risk of losing his visa.

“The protest showed that the community supports the students and the student movement,” said Charry. “Even though I was suspended by the university, I came off-campus to continue to rally for Palestine and to continue to call for divestment!”

Protesters marched onto campus after 5 p.m., the time students were told they could no longer protest on campus. The group chanted and marched back to the MLK plaza, the exact place that protesters were attacked and tear gassed the day before. The group, comprised of community members and students, rallied in the plaza in defiance of the university’s repression of the student encampments. On campus, Muslim protesters completed maghrib prayer. Then they marched back to 56th and Fowler.

The Tampa community will rally at USF again on Friday at 1 p.m.. Tampa Bay SDS will fight the suspensions of two of their students.

#TampaFL #SDS #FreePalestine #TampaBaySDS