By Fernando Figueroa
September 18, 2011
Gainesville, FL – On Sept 14, the University of Florida chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) rallied together in favor of Palestine’s United Nation’s bid for statehood. About 30 students came together in Turlington Plaza to chant and hold signs supporting the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Led by SJP President Mohammad Tina, thunderous cries of “Free, Free Palestine!” and “Gaza Gaza, don’t you cry! Palestine will never die!” echoed across the Plaza as students changed classes.
“SJP stands for peace and justice for all oppressed people, but particularly those in the Middle East,” said Tina in a speech about the purpose of his organization on campus.
In bold red, white, and green – the colors of the Palestinian national flag – student activists held signs reading “United Nations 194th member: Palestine,” and “Stop illegal settlement-building in Palestine.”
In between the militant chants, several student activists gave speeches explaining the reason for the rally.
“Palestine deserves the same inherent rights that every nation does – the right to self-determination,” said SDS activist Dave Schneider, “which is just the right to chart out their own collective destiny.”
This demonstration arrived on the heels of a reactionary Zionist resolution passed in the University of Florida Student Senate the night before.
Although the Greek-dominated Student Government is overwhelmingly Zionist, SJP’s rally was met with no organized opposition. As the hour-long rally progressed, interested students stopped and joined the event by holding signs and chanting along.