Students at Trinity College Dublin Dismantle Antiwar Protest Camp

Students at Trinity College Dublin Dismantle Antiwar Protest Camp

Students who oppose the war in Gaza began dismantling their protest camp at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland on Wednesday evening, after the institution agreed to divest from three Israeli companies listed by the United Nations for their links to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Trinity said that it would move to divest as soon as next month, and that its endowment fund would also seek to divest from investments in other Israeli companies in the future.

“We fully understand the driving force behind the encampment on our campus, and we are in solidarity with the students in our horror of what is happening in Gaza,” the college said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.

“We abhor and condemn all violence and war, including the atrocities of October 7th, the taking of hostages and the continuing ferocious and disproportionate onslaught in Gaza,” it added. “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the dehumanisation of its people is obscene.”

The statement was approved by the college’s board.

Trinity’s protest, which began five days ago and had remained peaceful, was organized by the student union and its branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S., movement. The demonstration emerged as students across Europe staged pro-Palestinian sit-ins and protests against antisemitism at other universities on the continent, taking a similar approach to their counterparts in the United States.

Jenny Maguire, the incoming president of Trinity’s student union, contrasted the calm atmosphere in the college’s Fellow’s Square, where students were already taking down flags and tents in anticipation of the statement’s release, to the violence at some U.S. universities, where police were deployed to clear some occupied buildings amid antiwar protests.

“The college was determined that it would be an example going forward,” Ms. Maguire said on Wednesday evening. “It refused to follow the U.S. example of bringing police in and made it clear that it would not pursue anything like that here.”

Prof. Eoin O’Sullivan, who led the college’s negotiation team, said, “I think the negotiations were very productive and very fruitful, and I’d compliment the students for their part in it.”

Support for the Palestinian cause is strong in Ireland, where many people compare Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories to centuries of British colonialism in their own country.

Ireland is also, along with Spain, one of the strongest supporters of the Palestinian cause in the European Union. Last month, the prime ministers of both governments, Simon Harris and Pedro Sánchez, said they would recognize a state of Palestine “when the time is right.”

Protesting students at Trinity said they were pleased that the college had met their demands, which included the establishment of a special working group to consider its future involvement with Israeli companies, academic institutions and student exchanges. The college has also undertaken a plan to fund tuition and accommodation for eight students from Gaza.

This week’s protest had forced the college to shut down the world-famous Book of Kells exhibition, where some of Ireland’s most ancient and valuable books are stored — one of the college’s main sources of outside revenue — along with college libraries and other facilities. About one million tourists pay to visit the Kells exhibition every year.

Professor O’Sullivan said the review of Trinity’s ties with Israel and the larger Middle East would most likely follow the model of a recent working group on the college’s own colonial legacy.

One main recommendation was to rename a college library formerly named after the philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, a renowned Trinity graduate who was a slave owner during his years in the American colonies. It’s now known on-campus as the X library.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *