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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Palestinian students’ protest ends in violent confrontation

    Friday, November 30, 1984

    Pro- and anti-Zionist students clashed yesterday near the edge of campus in a second day of protest-related violence at the University of Arizona.

    A heated argument erupted into fistfights during a demonstration spearheaded by the Committee for a Secular and Democratic Palestine, a group composed mainly of Arab students from the UA.

    One person was treated for a cut lip and released from University Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said last night. No arrests were made.

    About 40 protesters carrying anti-Zionist signs were picketing along East Speedway Boulevard near North Mountain Avenue between 4 and 5 p.m. yesterday when a handful of pro-Zionist students arrived, reportedly carrying Israeli flags.

    Unconfirmed reports indicated that members of Alpha Epsilon Pi, alerted to the protest by sister house Alpha Epsilon Phi, were involved in the melee.

    Witnesses said that about 25 members of AEPi, a predominantly Jewish fraternity, arrived, and that an argument ensued, escalating to fistfights.

    “”It was hard to see, but it looked like the PLO threw the first punch,”” said Jennifer Romig, and Arts and Sciences sophomore who watch the disturbance from a second-story window of her sorority, AEPhi, also a predominantly Jewish house.

    “”I don’t think AEPi wanted this to be a violent thing – they just wanted to show their presence,”” Romig said.

    “”We were acting as a religion,”” said Gregg Garland, 20, a radio-television sophomore who identified himself as a Jew and a fraternity member. The UA student directory lists Garland as a student residing at the AEPi house.

    “”We told them (the protesters) to get out of there…We told them to leave…We started ripping up their signs,”” he said.

    About 15 Tucson Policed Department officers arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after fighting had begun. University of Arizona police also responded to the disturbance.

    Traffic on Speedway was rerouted while officers parked their squad cars in the right lane and ordered into groups—which had grown to about 70 individuals—to separate, said Tucson Police Lt. Joe Kleismit.

    A demonstrator who said he was from the General Union of Palestine Students said that he and others were picketing when members of another group, which he speculated to be the Jewish Defense League, arrived and began screaming, shredding signs, and hitting protestors.

    “”We were walking peacefully, and they came and attacked us,”” said a UA graduate student who identified himself only as a member of the Moslem Student Association, Persian-Speaking Group.

    That group will continue protesting “”as long as Allah is behind us,”” he said.

    The group was protesting the invasion of Lebanon by Jewish Zionists, a demonstrator said.

    “”We were demonstrating against Zionists, not Jews,”” he added.

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