WASHINGTON - A group of pro-Palestinian students demonstrated at George Mason University on Tuesday.
On college campuses across our region, protests over the Israeli-Hamas war are beginning to grow. These protests have been observed on campuses around the DMV, such as at American University and George Washington University.
Nearly 100 students gathered on Watkins Plaza in the center of the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, chanting "Long live Palestine!"
Student protestors would not speak to FOX 5 on camera, with leaders instructing participants not to talk to the media.
"Do not speak with the media! Do not interview with the media! Everything we've seen of students talking to the media has been spun around," said one student protest leader.
University officials told FOX 5 that extra police and security were on hand to ensure the demonstration was peaceful.
"All sides getting their voices heard is what we're about, and we are committed to constitutionally protected speech. We want to make sure that it is done peacefully and lawfully," said Paul Allvin, Vice President of George Mason University.
The Jewish Community Relations Council says universities should send a strong message that no hate speech will be tolerated. The Council for American Islamic Relations says colleges should provide security but not limit speech.
"Our prayer as a Jewish community is that Israelis and Palestinians will learn to live together, but a pro-Palestine rally on Tuesday that is not also anti-Hamas is not an open door to that conversation," said Vicki Fishman of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
"Within the policies of the universities and the institutions, free speech is a key to our freedoms in the United States. At the same time, no one should be intimidated, nobody should be assaulted; it all has to be within civility," said Nihad Awad of the Congress of American Islamic Relations.
An author of a book called 'Kissing Kosher' was scheduled to appear at a book fair on the George Mason University campus. She posted on Instagram that she canceled the appearance because the pro-Palestinian student protest was planned in coordination with her event. Jean Meltzer declined our interview offer, and protestors say they were unaware of her involvement.