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LSU sees loud but peaceful dueling protests over Palestine, war in Gaza; no arrests reported

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BATON ROUGE — Protesters gathered on a plaza on the LSU campus on Friday, joining those held across the country calling for colleges and universities to either stop doing business with Israel or stop supporting the war in Gaza after an attack on Israel last fall. Several counter-protesters soon showed up.

Ahead of the LSU protest, organizers said they wanted the university to disclose all financial ties to Israeli entities. In particular, they are unhappy with the university's role in three joint U.S.-Israel Energy Centers.

There were no arrests or injuries reported at LSU.

The LSU protests were far different from building takeover, tent encampments and other civil unrest seen from California to the East Coast. This past week in New Orleans, police entered an encampment on the Tulane campus.

More than 2,300 people have been arrested nationwide in the college protests, though not all of those detained were university students. Some colleges canceled college functions, including graduation ceremonies, in the wake of the unrest.

President Joe Biden this week recognized the students' rights to protest but decried any violence and disruptions to the learning experience. Many campuses are in their final exam periods this week.

Israel has branded the protests anti-Semitic, though some protesters are Jews against the Israeli-Hamas war.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants last October killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took roughly 250 hostages in an attack on southern Israel.

In 2020, members of LSU's petroleum engineering faculty and chemical engineering faculty were listed as participants in a five-year, $27 million initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel's Ministry of Energy. 

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