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Demonstrators protest Israeli occupation

More than 100 demonstrators gathered Friday afternoon on the Chapel Quadrangle--most dressed in black, carrying signs and wearing blue "242" ribbons on their arms--to protest Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The students and faculty called for implementation of U.N. resolution 242, passed in November 1967, which called for Israeli armed forces to withdraw from territories occupied in the June 1967 Six-Days War. Over the years, the controversial resolution has become the cornerstone of diplomatic efforts in the Middle East.

"We cannot achieve peace without justice, and we cannot achieve justice without international law," said junior Yousuf Al-Bulushi, an organizer of the event and also president of Hiwar, a student group that focuses on human rights issues in North Africa and the Middle East.

At 2:30 p.m. protesters gathered outside the Bryan Center, and then walked double-file down the Bryan Center walkway and around Main West quad. The group stopped in between the West Campus bus stop and the Chapel, forming a semi-circle around two kneeling students holding a sign that read "End the Illegal Occupation" and a lone violinist, senior Tim Chung.

As Chung played, the rest remained in quiet protest for what Al-Bulushi called "30 minutes of silence."

"The last couple weeks, watching the news, the situation has definitely been the worst in the last 10 years," Al-Bulushi said. "We needed to join an international movement for an end to the illegal occupation."

With the escalation of Middle East violence in the past month, such demonstrations have become commonplace on campuses across the country. Similar events have taken place at the universities of Michigan, California and North Carolina, as well as Harvard University.

"I think it was a respectful protest against the disrespect for life in Palestine," said Craig Borowiak, a graduate student in political science. "We are not un-critical of suicide bombings; we are making a statement against the injustice of the illegal occupation."