Pro-Palestine demonstration interrupts University of Michigan commencement

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A group of pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Michigan briefly interrupted the spring commencement ceremony Saturday.

Videos of students wearing caps, gowns and keffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, circulated online during the ceremony in Ann Arbor.

“Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” they chanted.

“Regents, regents, you can’t hide! You are funding genocide!” they said, according to The New York Times.

One person in the audience could be heard yelling back at the protesters, “You’re ruining our graduation!”

A plane flew overhead with a message that said “Free Palestine” and “divest from Israel now.” Another plane circled the area that said “we stand with Israel. Jewish lives matter.”

The Hill has reached out to the University of Michigan for comment, but a spokeswoman told the Times that the school trained volunteers on how to “manage disruptions,” including asking someone to relocate a sign or stop disruptive behavior.

She said the university’s goal is to “support a successful and celebratory event.”

The demonstration follows several weeks of nationwide campus protests from students demanding that their universities divest from Israeli companies and companies that supply weapons to Israel.

The protests have left school administrators struggling with how to balance First Amendment rights and campus security. Several protests have affected what remaining time is left in the academic year.

Columbia University, where the protests began, moved the rest of the year to a hybrid learning style, and the University of Southern California cancelled its primary commencement ceremony.

Some universities plan to set up designated areas for students to protest, in an attempt to not suppress speech but allow the celebration to continue, the Times reported.

The protests on college campuses have largely been peaceful but came to a head this week after police moved onto many campuses to disperse demonstrators. Pro-Palestine protesters have also been met with a growing number of counter protesters.

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