Vandals Attack Caterpillar Building in Tucson on Nakba Day

Tucson, AZ – Late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, anonymous vandals smashed out at least five windows of the Caterpillar headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. They painted “murderers” on a remaining window in red spray paint. The attack occurred as Palestinians and those standing in solidarity with them commemorate Nakba Day, the yearly commemoration of the 1948 war that resulted in the permanent displacement of a majority of Palestinians. 

Caterpillar construction equipment, often with modifications, is used heavily by the Israeli military in their occupation of Palestine, including in the ongoing ground invasion of Gaza. Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozers have repeatedly been used by the Israel Defense Forces to bulldoze Palestinian homes, drag and crush Palestinians, and destroy cultural heritage sites.

On March 16, 2003, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah by a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier. Caterpillar continues to sell the machines to the Israeli military despite calls from humanitarian groups to stop doing so. Rafah is currently the main focus of IDF attacks.

The attack on the Caterpillar building follows more than two weeks of protests by students and community members at the University of Arizona. On Tuesday, April 30, and Thursday May 9, hundreds gathered in solidarity with Gaza and staged encampments amidst the olive groves on the west end of campus. 

On both days, Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department and University of Arizona Police Department officers marched in, some in riot gear, and forced the protesters off campus. Police shot pepper balls, rubber bullets and other “less lethal” munitions at protesters while the protesters, for their part, threw water bottles and balloons filled with paint back at the line of cops. 

The two nights of rebellion resulted in 6 arrests for minor misdemeanors. Two additional individuals were arrested for minor misdemeanors for distributing fliers during commencement proceedings.

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