ANU Gaza Encampment relocates, vows to continue despite VC’s threats

May 29, 2024
Defending the encampment on May 27. Photo: Students for Palestine – Canberra/Facebook

The month-long Australian National University (ANU) Gaza Solidarity Encampment decided to relocate to another part of the campus from Kambri lawns on May 27 after ANU management sent in security guards and threatened students with arrest.

ANU4Palestine said they decided to relocate after ANU management sent in security in the early hours of May 27, a public holiday, to remove them.

Students said management claimed their presence at Kambri Lawns posed “an unacceptable risk to the safety and security” of staff and students. The 20 or more security guards threatened students, who stood their ground.

They said their goal “has always been to, and continues to be, to ensure our ANU degrees are no longer contributing to genocide.

“Our goal is for the ANU to disclose and divest. No location change, no intimidation tactic, and no threat, will change that.”

ANU threatened the encampment with an “immediate and non-negotiable” order to vacate, threatening to call in the police if they failed to comply.

Responding to an urgent call-out, hundreds of people turned up on May 27, and again on May 28, to show their solidarity with the student encampment’s demands that ANU disclose and divest from weapons companies.

“It is Vice-Chancellor [Genevieve] Bell who’s actions have undoubtedly put the safety of students and staff at an unacceptable level of risk,” Students for Palestine said.

“If her response to campus safety issues involves police intervention, we, the students, question her capacity to lead the university.”

ANU has millions of dollars worth of investments in weapons companies, including those supplying Israel, the students said, adding that makes the university “complicit in genocide”.

Woroni, ANU’s student newspaper, said Northrop Grumman, the largest weapons manufacturer in the world, has a special relationship with ANU, especially those studying science honours degrees towards a Cyber Security Major, to which it offers a scholarship.

ANU also offers a Summer Student Program in partnership with the Northrop Grumman Global Externship Program.

Northrop Grumman has close ties to the Israeli Defense Forces, supplying it with missile systems and key components for its fighter jets, missile ships and trainer aircraft.

Northrop Grumman supplies Israel with key components for its F-35 fighter jets being used to massacre Palestinians.

The ANU also has investments, to the tune of $430,000, in Lockheed Martin and BAE systems.

The protesters said they will continue to remind the ANU “for as long as it takes” that it has “a legal obligation not to be complicit in an unfolding genocide”.

The students said the VC has refused “numerous invitations” to engage with the students or the mediation team, “made up of distinguished ANU academics”, who have offered their help.

Bell is the inaugural director of the ANU School of Cybernetics and is a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) AI Council.

The students said the encampment, no matter where it is on the campus, “serves as a reminder of the ANU’s complicity and will continue as long as the ANU fails to disclose and divest”.


Defending the encampment on May 27. Photo: Students for Palestine – Canberra/Facebook


Defending the encampment on May 27. Photo: Students for Palestine – Canberra/Facebook

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