University of Michigan graduation disrupted by anti-Israel protest

American news

The wave of anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the United States continued this weekend, with two demonstrations briefly interrupting graduation proceedings at the University of Michigan.

Dozens of protesters wearing keffiyehs and graduation caps held aloft Palestinian flags and marched down the aisle toward the Michigan Stadium stage during Saturday morning’s commencement, CBS News reported.

When a speaker invited the crowd to join in the school’s “Go Blue” chant, protesters hit back with chants of “Regents, Regents, you can’t hide! You are financing genocide,” said the New York Times.

Student demonstrators brought out Palestinian flags during the University of Michigan graduation ceremony Saturday morning. Getty Images

A plane with the message “Divest from Israel now! Free Palestine!” flew around the stadium, while a counter-protest plane carrying a banner reading: “We stand with Israel. Jewish lives matter” also passed by, CBS News reported.

“You’re ruining our graduation,” an audience member was heard retorting as school police forced the protesters to move to the back of the room, according to the Times.

Some pro-Israel protesters sitting in private boxes hung Israeli flags from their stalls, the newspaper said.

The graduation demonstration came the day after a group of protesters walked through the commencement ceremony of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater & Dance carrying Palestinian flags and signs reading “UM funds genocide.” according to a video shared by reporter Thad Green.

One graduate wore an Israeli flag pin as part of his or her commencement outfit. Getty Images

The disruptors were greeted with a mix of cheers and boos – with at least one person shouting, “Go away, go away,” the video showed.

“The protest lasted a few minutes before police arrived and protesters left,” Green wrote on X.

One person not affiliated with the university was arrested outside the school’s Museum of Art, where a protest took place near a dinner for honorary degree recipients, the New York Times reported.

The disruptions at the University of Michigan may have been a warning sign for other colleges set to graduate students this weekend, according to the New York Times.

The demonstrators attempted to reach the stage before being escorted to the back of the room. AP

At Boston’s Northeastern University — where 98 people were recently arrested in connection with campus protests — officials are enforcing strict rules about who can attend the Sunday afternoon ceremony at Fenway Park, the outlet reported.

However, many restrictions were already in place before the wave of anti-Israel protests that occupied campuses last month.

Before the all-school event, graduates from the university’s College of Arts, Media and Design held up messages reading: “NEU funds genocide. Repel now!” to the camera after receiving their diploma, according to a video from the Quds News Network.

Ohio State University and Indiana University Bloomington will also hold their all-school graduation ceremonies this weekend.

A plane carrying a banner reading “We stand with Israel” flew over the ceremony in Michigan. AP

Concerns about potential disruptions at university graduation ceremonies are especially high after the University of Southern California canceled its main commencement ceremony due to safety concerns.

Clashes between protesters and law enforcement are increasing: On Saturday, the anti-Israel encampment at the University of Virginia was raided by state police who were captured on video dragging tents and protesters from their spots on the campus lawn.

At least one protester had been arrested by 1 p.m. according to journalist and UVA student Olivia Paschal.

Other Michigan graduates waved Israeli flags in counter-protest. AP

“Cops push into a line of students and faculty waves of four or five at a time,” Paschal wrote alongside photos of the scene.

A photo shared by Paschalis showed a uniformed officer with what appeared to be a number of zip ties on hand.

The police response apparently prompted some spectators to join the protesters. Daily Cavalier news editor Thomas Baxter wrote on X.

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