Students on both sides hold non-violent Mideast protest

Published: Friday, January 16, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 7:38 p.m.

Although black and white are polar opposites on the color spectrum, they do have the ability to coexist.

Black and white balloons representing both Palestinian and Israeli casualties were floating above hundreds of student protesters and faculty members as they gathered at Turlington Plaza on the University of Florida campus early Thursday.

Among the protesters were pro-Palestinian students gathered to get the word out about peace and the war in Gaza.

Nadine Sfeir, a senior Middle Eastern studies student at UF, was among many protesters demonstrating for peace in Gaza and making signs for the cause.

“I want (the public) to realize how extremely horrible the situation is,” Sfeir said. “This isn’t politics. This is a war on humanity.”

Around 11 a.m. pro-Israel protesters began a counter-demonstration.

Jason Attermann, president of the Jewish Student Union, was among several pro-Israeli protesters.

“Our intention is to make known to the UF community the methods and tactics of the Hamas group,” Attermann said.

Also among the onlookers was Paige Crandall, interim dean of students at UF, who said she was proud to see student activism on campus.

“I love the fact that two groups with different views can coexist peacefully and try to educate students on issues affecting the world,” Crandall said.

Crandall also said the Mental Health Center on campus is on standby for any students who feel torn by the conflict taking place.

“Students having families or personal attachments on either side and need to express their emotions, have places for them on campus to come and talk,” Crandall said.

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