Graduates at Morehouse College in Atlanta turn their backs on Biden to protest Gaza genocide

Graduates at Morehouse College in Atlanta turn their backs on Biden to protest Gaza genocide
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19 May 2024
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In Atlanta, Georgia, a number of graduates at Morehouse College turned their backs on President Joe Biden in a silent protest as he gave the commencement address on Sunday.

The silent demonstration followed reports of flyers being spread around campus encouraging those attending the graduation to turn their backs to Biden or avoid applauding during his speech.

Some students were seen wearing a kaffiyeh, a traditional headdress that has come to resemble a sign of solidarity with Palestinians, or holding a Palestinian flag.   Other reports revealed that some students walked out of the graduation as Biden was presented with an honorary degree from the college.

In their protest, the graduates joined hundreds of other college graduates who have protested Biden's response to the ongoing crisis in Gaza.  One student told reporters that they were protesting his presence at Morehouse because of "his blatant support for the atrocious Israeli regime by playing down the genocide."

Ahead of the Morehouse commencement, hundreds of alumni signed a letter calling on the college to rescind its invitation to Biden.

"In inviting President Biden to campus, the college affirms a cruel standard that complicity in genocide merits no sanction from the institution that produced one of the towering advocates for nonviolence of the twentieth century,” the letter obtained by the Associated Press reads.

Officials with the college later affirmed that they would not be rescinding the invitation.

Protests have been occurring at college campuses across the country for weeks, with students calling on their schools to divest from companies that support Israel.

In his speech, the U.S. president downplayed the ongoing Israeli genocidal war against the Palestinians in Gaza -- calling it "a humanitarian crisis" rather than a genocidal war of aggression.

His appearance at Morehouse College, which is historically a Black men's college in Atlanta, was part of his election campaign aimed at repairing bonds with young Black men and addressing their frustrations over his stubborn pro-Israeli stance.  "I know it angers and frustrates many of you including in my family."

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