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Protests continue at the University of Iowa against the war between Israel and Hamas

Despite early morning rain, protesters continued their demonstration Saturday at the University of Iowa campus Pentacrest, an event that has remained free of the violence that has plagued other campuses across the country.

The “People’s University of Palestine” demonstration is organized by Iowa City Students for Justice in Palestine to stand in solidarity with student camps that have stretched from Los Angeles to New York City.

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested on college campuses across the country during a wave of recent demonstrations. Riot police arrested 132 people at UCLA in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening, a day after New York police arrested more than 300 people at Columbia University and City College.

About two dozen people gathered on the U of I campus Saturday, with events planned in the afternoon and early evening and again on Sunday. They ate some food as Palestinian music soundtracked the afternoon.

More: Live updates: Students in Iowa City and the University of Iowa lead protests in support of the Palestinians

Around 1:30 p.m., the group grew to about 50 people engaged in a variety of activities, from making buttons to working on projects to reading and having individual discussions.

Members have called on the University of Iowa to dissolve its partnership with Collis Aerospace and Lockheed Martin, among a list of demands the group has made in protest of the war between Israel and Hamas.

On Saturday, group organizers led discussions on divestment, as members shared why they “don’t believe their tuition should be used to fund genocide” or “wanted to learn more about the conflict.”

More: Iowa City student group prepares for a weekend Israeli-Hamas war rally at Pentacrest

They discussed boycotts, divestments and sanctions, delving more deeply into the University of Iowa’s ties with military and defense companies Collins Aerospace and Lockheed Martin, as well as with Bar-Ilan University (one of the largest public research universities in Israel) and how these funds contribute to U of I programming, including the Operator Performance Laboratory and study abroad.

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The talk ended with organizers encouraging people to continue talking and sending emails to department heads at the University of Iowa calling for divestment. The events are planned to last until 7pm and then resume on Sunday.

Iowa laws prevent state funds from being invested directly in companies that boycott Israel.

USA TODAY reporters Joey Garrison and Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.

Jessica Rish is an entertainment, food and business reporter for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. She can be reached at [email protected] or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @rishjessica_