Update: Second video added below
As you can see, members of the audience assaulted a number of UNM students when they began their ‘mic-checking’ action.
The public lecture, “The Arab Spring: Why it’s Failing and How Israel is Involved,” began at 7PM in the Anthropology lecture hall. UNM students protested against the Islamophobic rhetoric put forward by Darwish, an author and founder of Arabs For Israel. When the students raised their voices, a number of audience members got out of their seats and used force against the students.
Jordan Whelchel, a UNM student:
“The response to this non-violent protest was a violent assault by parts of the crowd. The mic-check was shouted down by a few of the pro-Israel audience members who began physically forcing the protestors out of the auditorium. One of the pro-Palestine activists, a young woman who studies at UNM, had her face scratched and her hair pulled. A young man was forcibly pulled over a row of seats. One was nearly punched in the face, though another protestor intervened to stop the assailant by putting himself in the way. A phone was destroyed, and a camera only narrowly avoided the same fate.
This reaction came as a shock to the protestors. They desired to use words to shake people out of their comfort and complacency , they anticipated words in return, but were met with fists and shoulders. The only people who protected protestors from physical assault were other protestors. In the hallway, the ones who used a protest tactic widely endorsed by Arab Spring activists were called anti-democratic, pro-terrorist, and so on. “
A student caught much of the event on film before another audience member pushed down her camera. The students were then forced out of the auditorium and called the UNM police, who arrived and filed a report on the incident.
These students were assaulted on UNM campus for simply trying to make their voices heard. It is a shock that a non-violent action was met with such aggression.
UPDATE: Here’s is another video of the action. Note the man lunge into the protesters at 17 seconds:
(Hat tip Susan Schuurman )