Israel-Gaza war protest breaks out at UNC during University Day

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Friday, October 13, 2023
Israel-Gaza war protest breaks out at UNC during University Day
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Protesters and counter-protesters clashed on the quad at UNC during a rally about the Israel-Gaza conflict.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Protesters and counter-protesters clashed on the quad at the University of North Carolina on Thursday during a rally about the Israel-Hamas conflict.

It happened in front of Wilson Library on the quad. Protesters were there about the war happening in Israel and Gaza.

Witnesses said a pro-Palestinean rally started in the area. Later, supporters of Israel showed up to protest the rally.

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Tensions were high for a while with some reports of physical altercations; however, no serious injuries were reported.

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A crowd remained in the area with many students talking to each other about the topic as people lingered.

I am Palestinian, so it is a giant part of my identity to come out and fight for my people across the Atlantic Ocean," said Haya, a student who didn't want to give her last name. "I have to do more than just pray for my family overseas - I have to come out and also say 'Free Palestine,' because I do pray and dream for a free Palestine.

"There are bridges, there could be peace, there can be peace, and I hope to God there will be," the UNC junior added, "But unfortunately, in the way the global, the global stage is looking, it might not be for like 10 years."

No classes were happening on campus at the time because UNC is celebrating its 230th anniversary. The event, known as University Day, includes festivities at the Old Well, Memorial Hall and other locations on campus.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying:

"Earlier this week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a public service announcement concerning the Hamas attack in Israel and potential impacts on communities within the United States. At this time, there is no specific intelligence suggesting a planned attack within the United States. The FBI and its partners will continue to monitor the situation in Israel for potential domestic public safety threats. As with any potential threat to the United States, we will coordinate with our partners to ensure they have the resources and information necessary to keep our communities safe. Please reach out to us at any time.

We also want to update you on the FBI's role in the current situation in Israel. Through our Legal Attaché office in Israel, FBI personnel are working with our partners on the ground to locate and identify any impacted Americans. Reports of deceased, injured, or unaccounted for Americans are being treated with the utmost urgency and aggressively investigated.

If you become aware of any threat or suspicious activity, please report that information immediately to the FBI at or by calling your contacts at the FBI Charlotte Field Office directly. If the activity involves imminent violence or threat to life, call 911."