Pro-Palestine protests: University of Melbourne bolsters security as protestors double down on demands

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Pro-Palestine solidarity encampments stationed at universities across Australia remain defiant in the face of mounting pressure to disband their tent cities.
Pro-Palestine solidarity encampments stationed at universities across Australia remain defiant in the face of mounting pressure to disband their tent cities. Credit: AAP

The University of Melbourne is bolstering campus security and has warned “external actors” they could be referred to police as hundreds of students continue to occupy a building in a protest supporting Palestine.

Nearly 250 classes have been cancelled and 8,300 students impacted since students seized the Art West building at Parkville in an escalation of Pro-Palestine encampments across 11 universities in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart.

The 11 encampments released a joint statement on Friday that said they would remain on campus until the universities disclosed and divested all their ties with Israel and signed the International Boycott Divestment and Sanctions statement.

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“We are horrified at the brutality that is being brought down upon Palestinians,” said the statement published in Meanjin.

“We cannot sit by while it unfolds. To do so would be a moral travesty. We believe in the possibility of a world without war, but that belief demands action.”

Students at the University of Sydney encampment held a meeting to discuss their demands with Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott but it is understood he did not attend.

The University of Melbourne released a statement warning “external actors” that they could be referred to Victoria Police for trespassing on university grounds as students continued their occupation of the Art West building.

“We remain deeply concerned by this continued occupation of a central building on our Parkville campus,” said a spokesperson.

“This occupation presents a significant safety risk to our students and staff members, and has resulted in damage to University property.

“We are also deeply concerned by the escalation in action and disruptive intent of some, including external actors, to our Parkville campus.

“There is no doubt that this group has under-estimated their intimidatory impact on members of our community.”

Video posted to social media shows the hundreds of protestors, many wearing keffiyehs, chanting inside the Art West building over night.

The protesters have renamed the building Mahmoud’s Hall after Palestinian student Mahmoud Alnaouq was accepted to study at the University of Melbourne on scholarship before he was killed in an Israeli air strike on October 20.

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