Police arrive at ANU Gaza protest camp as students refuse to move on

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun5,2024
Key Points
  • Pro-Palestinian student protesters at ANU are refusing orders to dismantle their encampment.
  • Campus security at the university’s Canberra campus directed students to vacate the site on Monday.
  • Police could begin arresting students after they formed a human chain and refused to leave.
Police could start arresting students at a pro-Palestinian encampment after the protesters formed a human chain and refused to leave the Australian National University (ANU) campus.
Campus security at the university in Canberra directed students to remove their belongings and vacate the site on Monday, citing safety concerns.

But protesters have refused to leave, with encampment participants chanting at campus management staff and issuing a social media call for supporters from the community to join them and protect the camp.

Roughly 100 people responded to the call by linking arms around the encampment and chanting for a free Palestine.
“Too many coppers, not enough justice,” they shouted.

Australian Federal Police officers have arrived at the site and, according to camp leaders, will start arresting people if they do not leave.

Members of the negotiation team will meet with students in an attempt to encourage them to leave in accordance with the university’s directive.
“We are still in an observational capacity at the moment,” a police spokesman told AAP.

Asked if any arrests would be made, he said it “depends what happens”.

The escalation in the protest comes after students at the University of Melbourne and Curtin University in Western Australia packed up their pro-Palestinian encampments, citing a shift by the institutions on demands to publicly disclose ties with weapons makers.
The protests emulate demonstrations in the United States, where students were forced to dismantle their encampments after clashing with police.

The ANU maintains it has never directed its students to stop protesting, but that the encampment is posing safety issues.

It is located in a heavily populated part of the university that also acts as a primary emergency evacuation site.
The university said the alternate assembly area failed during an evacuation on Wednesday, posing an “intolerable risk to students, staff and wider public”.
“Everyone at ANU shares the same sense of responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of our community,” the university statement said.

“This directive is made to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.”

The ANU encampment is demanding the university cut ties with weapons manufacturing companies, disclose and divest from all entities complicit in the “genocide in Gaza”, and cut academic ties with Israel.
Students say the university’s administration has refused to meet with students or their mediation team.

“It is clear that the ANU is not interested in engaging in good faith with peaceful student protesters on the right side of history,” they said in a statement.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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