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Students Stage Walkouts, and Protest at US universities During Graduation in Solidarity with Palestine

In the wake of massive pro-Palestine stances across the US, primarily by university students, dozens of graduating students walked out of Duke University’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 12. They simultaneously chanted “free Palestine” in a quest to protest the guest speaker, Pro-Israeli comedian Jerry Seinfield, who has openly supported the Israeli regime’s ongoing onslaught on Gaza that has now killed over 35,000 people, mostly women and children.

“We understand the depth of feeling in our community, and as we have all year, we respect the right of everyone at Duke to express their views peacefully, without preventing graduates and their families from celebrating their achievement,” said a Duke spokesperson, Frank Tramble, in a statement.

The walkout at Duke’s commencement ceremony was one of the several protests across US university campuses, as students have unanimously called for universities to divest from arms suppliers and other companies profiting from the Israeli regime’s brutal war on Gaza as well as amnesty for students and faculty who have been suspended or expelled for protesting. 

At Emerson College in Boston, pro-Palestine chants interrupted the school president’s remarks during its Graduation Ceremony on Sunday, May 12. Some students were also captured walking across the stage, flashing ‘Free Palestine’ garbs and gestures while receiving their degrees.

At the University of California, Berkeley, on Saturday May 11, pro-Palestinians raised flags and chanted during the commencement ceremony. They were later escorted to the back of the stadium.

The pro-Palestine protests have also compelled universities such as Columbia in New York and the University of Los Angeles to cancel their graduation ceremonies this month. 

Students at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) also walked out of their commencement ceremony protesting an address by Pro-Israeli Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Around 100 graduates silently walked out of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, donning the symbolic Keffiyeh scarves with signs reading “Teach Black history” and “Book bans [do not equal] respect for learning.”

More than 3000 people have been arrested in the US for protesting against the country’s unwavering support in the Israeli regime’s brutal war on Gaza that has now killed over 35,000 people since Oct. 7 2023. More than 70,000 remain injured while the occupation entity imposes a crippling blockade of medical and humanitarian aid into the strip, resulting in a humanitarian catastrophe and pushing all of Gaza’s 2.2 million people to the brink of famine.

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