Pro-Palestine protest camps spread worldwide as police crackdowns intensify

The Cradle, May 3, 2024 —

Western university campuses have become the center stage for protests against the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Students at several universities in Australia have launched rallies to protest Israel’s campaign of genocide in Gaza, as the spread of the massive pro-Palestine protests sweeps across western nations.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up an encampment at the University of Sydney, the country’s largest, last week. Other encampments opposing the mass murder of Palestinians have since popped up on campuses in Melbourne, Canberra, and other cities in Australia.
On Friday, students marched on the Sydney University campus to protest the Israeli offensive and demand that their institution divest from companies linked to Israel, following in the footsteps of the US grassroots movement.

“Once you understand what is going on you have a responsibility to try and get involved and raise awareness and show solidarity,” one of the participants told Reuters

Violence has yet to erupt at any of the Australian protests.

Recent weeks have seen a large-scale student movement unfurl across US campuses in support of the Palestinian cause and condemnation of Washington’s support for Israel. This movement has inspired protests at universities in France, Canada, the UK, Lebanon, and elsewhere. 

Students at some of Canada’s largest universities have also erected protest encampments in solidarity with Gaza, including at Montreal’s McGill University. The movement in Canada has also begun demanding a divestment from Israel.

Encampments have also been set up at the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Ottawa. 

Students at the University of Toronto said on Thursday they would not dismantle their encampment until the institution discloses investments and divests from any funding that helps “sustain Israeli apartheid, occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine.” 

Protests are also taking place at several universities in the UK

In Paris, French riot police moved against protesters staging a pro-Palestine sit-in at Sciences Po University on Friday.

French police also violently attacked protesters at Paris’ Sorbonne University earlier this week. 

In the US, violent police repression overtook several pro-Palestine encampments this week. On Tuesday, the NYPD violently retook a building occupied by student protesters at Columbia University, raiding the hall and detaining dozens. A similar incident took place hours earlier when police in California surrounded a building that had been taken over by protesters at Cal Poly Humboldt University. 

Pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at UCLA, facing little to no backlash from campus authorities and police. On Wednesday evening, riot police surrounded the pro-Palestine encampment at UCLA and began moving against them and making arrests the following day. 

The US House of Representatives passed a bill on 1 May to redefine the meaning of antisemitism to include those criticizing Israel. Many criticized the bill and warned that it could specifically be used to confront pro-Palestine protests at US university campuses. 

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