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Pro-Palestine protesters relocate encampment before looming deadline

Aisling BrennanNCA NewsWire
Students setting up at the new site for the Pro-Palestine encampment at The Australian National University campus in Canberra. NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Camera IconStudents setting up at the new site for the Pro-Palestine encampment at The Australian National University campus in Canberra. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

Student protesters in Canberra have relocated their pro-Palestine encampment 50m down before the midday deadline set by the university.

Protesters at the Kambri Tent Encampment at the Australian National University spent most of Monday defending their camp after a heavy police presence was deployed to observe and monitor the situation.

The students were ordered to vacate the area by midday on Tuesday after they were told they were an “unacceptable safety risk,” with Kambri lawns marked as an evacuation point.

The new camp was set up on University Ave opposite the School of Politics and International Relations.

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The overnight move meant protestors packed up their tents and belongings and shifted to the new site to avoid further conflict with police and ANU security.

PROTESTERS at ANU
Camera IconStudents were forced to move their encampment on The Australian National University campus. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia
PROTESTERS at ANU
Camera IconStudents were seen setting up at the new site for the Pro-Palestine encampment at The Australian National University campus in Canberra. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NewsWire Photos. MAY 27, 2024: Police have decended on the pro-Palestine protest camp at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra to break up the encampments. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Camera IconPolice previously gave the pro-Palestine protest camp a deadline to move on by midday. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: NCA NewsWire

In a statement, the protesters said ANU vice-chancellor Genevieve Bell was yet to accept their invitation to engage with the group, who are calling on the university to cut ties with weapons companies connected to the Israeli military.

“By relocating, we have demonstrated our willingness to co-operate with vice-chancellor Bell’s demands,” the statement said.

“It is now time for vice-chancellor Bell and the ANU leadership to start engaging with ours.

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

PROTESTERS at ANU
Camera IconStudents have returned to the vacated Pro-Palestine encampment. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

ANU chief operating officer Christopher Price told staff in a published letter online on Monday that safety for everyone on campus was priority.

“It is important to emphasise the University’s direction to leave Kambri is about the safety of the campus in the event of an emergency,” Mr Price said.

“No one has been told not to protest.

“I also want to state that these are our students and members of our community, and we wish to continue to manage this issue in a compassionate and sensible manner, and in dialogue with protesting members of our community.”

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NewsWire Photos. MAY 27, 2024: Police have decended on the pro-Palestine protest camp at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra to break up the encampments. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman
Camera IconThe pro-Palestine protesters have since relocated. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: NCA NewsWire

The university identified two other locations for protesters to relocate, including the grassed area at the end of University Ave near the North Rd junction, or alternatively on the lawns at the front of the Chancery building.

Greens Senator David Shoebridge was seen meeting with camp organisers at the new site of the Pro-Palestine encampment on Tuesday.

PROTESTERS at ANU
Camera IconSenator David Shoebridge met with camp organisers on Tuesday. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia
PROTESTERS at ANU
Camera IconStudents are planning to sleep at the new encampment. NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury said he was concerned by the actions of the ANU leadership in trying to move protesters on.

“The ANU encampment was established, like many others around the world, to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and call on the University to cut military ties with Israel,” Mr Rattenbury said

“The ACT Greens have continuously called for a permanent ceasefire and lasting peace for Palestine and we support calls for the ANU to divest from corporations complicit in the genocide and human rights abuses.

“It is shameful that the ANU leadership is trying to move the students on rather than genuinely addressing the demands for the ANU to divest its ties to the genocide.

“The ANU should be supporting students in their peaceful protest and their right to use their voices in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Originally published as Pro-Palestine protesters relocate encampment before looming deadline

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