/ 28 May 2024

A deadline for students


The Squiz 

Police were deployed to the Australian National University’s (ANU) pro-Palestine encampment to help security guards enforce an evacuation order yesterday afternoon as the protests over the war in Gaza heated up. About 150 protesters formed a human circle around the site after being given their marching orders by university officials. After refusing to leave, police have given the protesters a deadline of 12pm today to vacate – with uni officials saying “failure to comply … will result in disciplinary action”. But the students aren’t on board – after holding a vote to stay, one said “there are hundreds of people here … We will not be moved”.

What happened?

The ANU’s Jeremy Matthew wrote to the students yesterday morning, telling them that a recent fire evacuation near the encampment had been “disrupted”, showing that an “unacceptable safety risk” was being caused by the protesters. Reports say protesters have been given the option of moving to nearby lawns on the campus, but ANU’s student newspaper Woroni has reported the students were taking legal advice. Like many of the college protests happening globally, ANU’s students are demanding the uni sell off its interests in several weapons companies tied to the Israeli military. But after several weeks of protests around the country, authorities have started to crack down – last week, anti-Israel chants were banned at unis in Queensland and Melbourne, and protesters were told to leave.

So while that’s going on, what’s happening in Gaza?

Hamas-led health and emergency service officials in Gaza say at least 45 civilians – mostly women and children – were killed and dozens were injured in an Israeli strike in western Rafah. They say at least 8 missiles hit a camp for displaced Palestinians in a designated safe zone, setting several tents alight. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the incident was “a tragic mishap” and was being investigated. ”In Rafah we already evacuated about one million non-combatant residents and despite our utmost effort not to harm non-combatants, something unfortunately went tragically wrong”, he told the Israeli parliament. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said it targeted a Hamas compound “on the basis of precise intelligence”, killing 2 senior Hamas officials. That all came after Hamas fired rockets at Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv, prompting air raid sirens to ring out for the first time in months.

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