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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mock border vandalized

The mock border wall along the UA mall was vandalized during the weekend.  The vandalism, including this mock corpse, was discovered Sunday, according to No More Deaths? website.
The mock border wall along the UA mall was vandalized during the weekend. The vandalism, including this mock corpse, was discovered Sunday, according to No More Deaths? website.

Tensions surrounding the mock border wall on the UA Mall resulted in vandalism over the weekend.

The 1,000-foot barbed wire fence was installed by the UA club No Más Muertes/No More Deaths on March 21 and included sections representing the borders between the United States and Mexico and Israel and Palestine. Two separate acts of vandalism included tearing down one section of the wall and attaching a fake corpse of a migrant to the other.

A University of Arizona Police Department officer reported the destruction of the Palestinian section of the wall early Saturday morning, according to Gabriel Schivone, coordinator of No Más Muertes/No More Deaths and a former Arizona Daily Wildcat columnist. The entire section of the wall was uprooted and lying on Third Street, he said.

Mock wall organizers checked the Mexico section of the wall on Sunday morning and found material from the mall was torn down and scattered, according to Francisco Baires, a mock wall organizer who reported the vandalism. Organizers also found a large, fake corpse of a migrant staked to the wall with nails driven through its hands.

The corpse appeared to have blood streaming from its eyes and wore a sign reading, “”I did not cross the border, the border crossed me.””

“”That was really, really appalling and really, really disturbing,”” said Baires, who recently graduated from the UA.

Organizers encountered animosity from students and visitors throughout the week. People yelled at them using profanity, and one man attached photographs of decapitated migrants to the wall, according to Baires.

A group of people walking by the Palestinian section of the wall threatened to tear it down earlier in the week, according to Schivone.

“”It’s a really heated issue,”” said Schivone, a student studying English. “”There were threats all week, and they finally did it.””

The wall was removed after the incident.

“”Even though that was done by vandals, (The Dean of Students Office) determined it became a safety hazard and the fence should be taken away,”” Schivone said. “”So the fence company had to come and retrieve it. Now half of the wall is up.””

Organizers knew vandalism was a possibility prior to putting the wall up, Schivone said. He said comments about driving through the wall were made on the website Live Leaks the weekend before the wall was installed.

“”Nevertheless, it proved our point in creating a space where the issue was unavoidable, the issues of Israel occupation as well as deaths in the deserts and raids in the city,”” Schivone said. “”These issues are often invisible. And for 10 days on the U of A campus, they were not. We forced them into discussion.””

Carol Thompson, assistant vice president of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students, said the office has not investigated the vandalism because the organizers had not filed a complaint. She said staff from the office addressed organizers’ concerns and told them their options.

Schivone said the organizers have since filed a complaint with the office for both incidents asking the university to recognize them as hate crimes. Organizers have not heard from UAPD wwwon the status of the investigation, he said. Sgt. Juan Alvarez, public information officer for UAPD, directed all questions to Thompson.

Baires said the vandalism is the failure of some members of the campus community, but the wall has still served to provoke discussion. Free speech boards near the wall allowed people who share differing opinions.

“”We’ve had some good rapport with people who disapprove,”” Baires said. “”It hasn’t all been negative.””

The remaining portion of the wall will be taken down on Thursday as originally scheduled.

“”We had sort of a saying that ‘One fake wall down, two real walls to go,'”” Schivone said. “”The vandals really, in a way, proved our point. Walls separate communities, and they’re never any sort of a solution for social problems.””

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