ANU students continue Gaza solidarity encampment

June 3, 2024
Volunteers staffing the kitchen at the ANU Gaza solidarity encampment. Photo: Paul Oboohov

After Australian National University (ANU) students set up their solidarity with Gaza encampment on the relatively small lawns in central Kambri on April 29, Palestinian-Australians responded by setting up a kitchen nearby to help.

Apart from being the place to find out about the Israeli war machine’s systematic destruction of Gaza, Students and Staff Against War ANU (SSAW ANU) initiated tours of sites on campus that either have institutional ties with weapons companies or have investments in them.

Visiting Palestinian Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, who has been touring Australia and New Zealand, also visited the encampment.

Two-hundred students marched on the ANU Chancelry on May 16, chanting against the university’s  investment in weapons companies and research.

Students then visited sites implicated in weapons research, including BAE Systems, the Hanna Neumann building, the School of Art and Design, the School of Engineering, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies and the ANU Chancelry.

The Palestine Action Group Canberra, which organises weekly anti-war rallies in the city centre, organised a joint event with the Kambri Gaza Encampment, supported by Unions ACT, on May 18. It attracted at least 200 people.

On May 27 at 8am the Director of Facilities and Services, accompanied by ANU Security guards, backed by ACT Police, told the students to evacuate Kambri and threatened to take down the marquees and tents if they didn’t comply.

The students called for reinforcements and many arrived quickly, setting up a solidarity cordon around the Kambri lawn.

Later that evening, students decided to relocate 200 metres down the central University Avenue walkway to a much larger lawn space, behind the ANU Student Central building — still a very central campus location.

The ANU students’ Gaza solidarity encampment lives on, supported by progressives on and off campus.

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