A protest called “Shut it down for Palestine” saw more than 300 demonstrators block the UC Santa Cruz campus entrance Thursday morning into the afternoon.
More than 350 UC Santa Cruz students and supporters blocked the campus entrance at High and Bay streets Thursday morning, calling for people to “skip school and work, do not look away from the genocide.” The west entrance was still open to traffic as of 1 p.m.
Responding to an international call convened by several groups including the Palestinian Youth Movement and National Students for Justice in Palestine, titled “Shut it down for Palestine,” the protesters encouraged people to walk out of class and work. The UCSC Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group organized the rally.
An SJP leader, who did not want to provide their name, told Lookout they’re protesting to make their demands known and to show their disapproval of the university’s response to the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip.
He said they demand an immediate ceasefire and “the free-flowing of humanitarian aid to Gaza.” In addition, “we want to end all U.S. military aid to Israel and we want the university to divest from all companies that enable and profit from the occupation.”
Lookout attempted to confirm how many classes had been canceled and how many workers and students participated in the rally and protest, but sources had not been able to confirm as of publication time.
Demonstrators chanting and holding signs began blocking and marching in the intersection around 11:15 a.m. and continued to block it around 1 p.m. Just before 12:30 p.m., they sat down in the intersection and set up tables in the middle of the road, with an altar in honor of the lives lost.
City of Santa Cruz Police officers have been directing traffic away from the demonstrators. UCSC Dean of Students Garrett Naiman also talked to drivers and directed them away from the intersection.
Just before noon, UCSC officials sent an email to the campus community to avoid the area due to demonstrators blocking the entrance.
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