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UCF students successfully kick Lockheed Martin event off campus

By Cassia Laham

University of Central Florida SDS shuts down Lockheed Martin event on campus. | Fight Back! News/Cassia Laham

Orlando, FL – 25 students gathered at the University of Central Florida, March 4, to protest the presence of Lockheed Martin on their campus. UCF Students for a Democratic Society organized the rally outside of what was meant to be a “Diversity Panel” hosted by the weapons manufacturer, which has supplied weapons to Israel for the ongoing occupation and war against the people of Palestine.

As they rallied outside of the Career Services and Experiential Learning Building, student protesters chanted, “Free Palestine!” and “Israel bombs, Lockheed supplies, end the Gaza genocide!” A large banner held be several activists read,” Lockheed Martin bombs hospitals.”

The group listened to various impassioned speakers who denounced the Israeli occupation, the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinian people, and the attempt by Lockheed Martin to pinkwash its reputation by recruiting a more “diverse” workforce to its blood-stained ranks. The students of UCF didn’t buy it.

“By selling weapon systems and aircraft to Israel, Lockheed Martin isn’t just complicit, but an active enabler of Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” said Marcus Polzer, co-founder and lead organizer with UCF SDS. “And if UCF actively help Lockheed Martin’s recruitment of employees thought the College Work Experience Program, then our university is complicit in genocide. Get these war profiteers off of our campus.”

Within an hour of the start of the protest, a major victory was announced.

It was confirmed that Lockheed Martin had moved its event off campus. It was not clear whether it was the University of Central Florida that gave in to the students’ demands and kept Lockheed Martin from meeting on college ground, or whether the weapons manufacturer itself was scared off by the students’ presence and promise of further direct action.

“This is a great victory for the students of UCF,” said Polzer. “And proof that direct action, ongoing protests, and organizing on the ground, work. And we will continue to agitate for justice on this campus, and for a free Palestine.”

#OrlandoFL #AntiWarMovement #International #MiddleEast #Palestine #StudentMovement #SDS #UCFSDS