ANU threatens to discipline students and disperse Gaza solidarity camp

ANU management in Canberra is demanding a number of students leave their encampment in solidarity with Gaza, threatening them with disciplinary action if they refuse.

Seven students identified by management as organisers were summoned to a meeting and issued with the threat, told to remove all their belongings from the camp.

Students were rallying in defence of the camp as Solidarity went to press, with support from the ACT branch of the university staff union the NTEU as well as the teachers’ union and the CFMEU construction union.

The CFMEU’s Zach Smith also “condemned in the strongest terms” ANU management’s actions, blasting the university’s actions at a rally outside Parliament House.

The university has justified its actions by claiming it wants to ensure protests on campus will, “be safe and not cause unnecessary harm or damage to our campus or community”. But its actions are simply an attack on freedom of speech and the right to protest.

Student activist Beatrice Tucker is also facing university disciplinary action after they were interviewed on ABC Canberra Radio about the ANU encampment.

They have been banned from the campus pending the outcome of the process, which could result in suspension or expulsion.

Asked to condemn Hamas, Tucker responded by affirming their solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for national liberation and the right to resist occupation, saying, “Hamas deserves our unconditional support … Not because I agree with their strategy, [I’m in] complete disagreement with that”.

This has led to a right-wing media attack, distorting their comments to accuse them of support for terrorism.

Students on the campus are circulating a statement of support, arguing, “The right of Palestinians to resist Israel’s occupation is recognised under international law… No one should be persecuted for standing in solidarity with Palestinian resistance”.

Over 370 students, staff and other supporters have signed the statement so far.

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