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Tulane University pro-Palestine students protest New Orleans Bookfest, one arrested

By Silas Gillett

Tulane SDS members die-in  at Tulane University during Bookfest. | Fight Back! News/staff

New Orleans – On March 16, 13 courageous members of Tulane Students for a Democratic Society carried out a die-in on campus to protest the school’s partnership with Israel. The demonstrators occupied the school’s central building during the nationally attended and Tulane-hosted New Orleans Bookfest. The festival is hosted by the university once a year and brings in thousands of attendees to watch panels and talks by well-known authors and public figures.

When the protesters were forced to leave under threat of arrest, they marched outside to join a rally planned to happen during the same time in front of the university. The rally was put together by a coalition of organizations including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), New Orleans Stop Helping Out Israel’s Ports (NOSHIP), and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It was an emergency action protesting a Tulane professor grabbing a transgender pro-Palestine student so hard he gave them bruises on their arms and back. The attendees held signs urging an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel and chanted slogans such as “Tulane, Tulane, you can’t hide! You’re supporting genocide!”

During the rally, police officers began to harass Rory MacDonald, the student who was battered while protesting for Palestine. After aggressively attempting to drag MacDonald back onto campus, the officers restricted them from returning to campus until the end of Bookfest.

In their speech after the event, MacDonald stated “Tulane says it loves free speech. Well today I protested on campus, and what happens? TUPD targets and harasses me”. Shortly after, the police aggressively arrested Toni Jones, a Black trans woman and prominent local activist, while she was exercising her right to free speech at the protest. She is a member of New Orleans for Community Oversight of the Police (NOCOP) which stated in a press release that “Tulane has a history of repressing Black activists, including students who protested TUPD during the George Floyd Rebellion in 2020.”

#NewOrleansLA #LA #StudentMovement #AntiWarMovement #International #MiddleEast #Palestine #NOCOP #SDS #NOSHIP #FRSO #feature