A protest for Palestine occurred the morning of Nov. 11 outside a newly opened student veterans office.
Updated: Loyola Students Protest for Palestine Outside New Student Veterans Office
Editor’s Note: This was originally posted as a developing story online and on Instagram Nov. 11. It has since been updated to provide further context for the senator’s presence, the Israel-Hamas war as of Nov. 14, the protestors’ intentions, the opening of the veteran services office and who was contacted for the article.
Several Loyola students gathered to protest for a cease-fire in Gaza and against U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s stance on the war outside of the newly opened Military Veteran Students Services office on the first floor of the Granada Center Nov. 11.
Roughly 20 demonstrators held signs, chanted and smeared fake blood on the ground in front of the building’s entrance and on two Fordham Hall signs as they denounced the support of Israel from the university and the Democratic Illinois senator, who was in attendance for the office’s dedication.
In an Oct. 25 walk-out protest, students at Loyola demanded Loyola divest from war manufacturers like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Northrop Gruman, The Phoenix previously reported.
On Oct. 7, Hamas militants stormed from the blockaded Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns, killing dozens and abducting others, according to the Associated Press. Israel then declared war and launched airstrikes in Gaza.
The Gaza Health Ministry reported that more than 11,070 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors, have died since the war began, AP reported Nov. 12.
Conflict has continued as the Israeli military said they entered Gaza’s largest hospital in a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” Nov. 14, according to AP. Health officials said the attack on the hospital stranded critically wounded patients, newborns and their caregivers, leaving Palestinians with dwindling supplies and no electricity, AP reported.
The protest at Loyola lasted around two hours and took up the sidewalk in front of the office and one lane of North Sheridan Road, with several Chicago Police Department and Campus Safety officers present as well.
The protestors employed a wide variety of chants criticizing Israel, Duckworth, the university and police including, “Tammy, Tammy, we’re not leaving,” “Tammy, Tammy, you’re a liar. We demand a ceasefire,” and “We just want to talk.”
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against international calls for a cease-fire, adding they will continue their efforts against Hamas with “full force,” AP reported.
Throughout the protest several passing vehicles honked in support of the demonstrating students while others booed or called out.
The new office for student veterans was being opened on Veterans Day. Construction on the office began in May after receiving a $583,747 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities.
Duckworth’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Several protestors declined to speak with The Phoenix on the record, citing disapproval of the paper’s previous coverage. A Campus Safety sergeant present during the protest declined a request to comment.
The protest was called at 10:54 a.m. after demonstrators said Duckworth had left, but they vowed to continue their activism and ended the protest with one final chant of, “Free, free Palestine.”
This story was written by Austin Hojdar and Hunter Minné. Featured image by Holden Green / The Phoenix