Tents at a Pro-Palestine encampment (file image)
Pro-Palestine encampments remain on the grounds of a number of Australian university campuses. Image by Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS
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Pro-Palestine camp to end when uni gives into demands

May 23, 2024

Pro-Palestine protesters at a major Melbourne university are waiting for the institution to publicly disclose its ties to weapons manufacturers before they pack up their camp.

Students have occupied the University of Melbourne’s Arts West building in Parkville since May 15, prompting a backlash from administrators.

The student protesters announced on Wednesday evening the camp would be dismantled, after they claimed the university had agreed to disclose its partnerships with weapons manufacturers.

However, the university is yet to publicly confirm this agreement.

Organiser Deena El-Shabasei said the institution had given in their demand privately and they were awaiting written and public confirmation.

“The university gave us the promise of disclosure,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne on Thursday. 

“So once we get disclosure … the encampment will wrap up, but the movement will not wrap up.”

The University of Melbourne is expected to release a statement before midday on Thursday.

“We welcome the willingness of the occupiers to leave the Arts West building and remove the encampment from our Parkville campus,” it said on Wednesday night.

A Pro-Palestine rally at the University of Melbourne
 Protesters at the University of Melbourne announced the camp will be dismantled. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

Vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell previously said the occupation had led to the cancellation or rescheduling of more than 600 classes, disrupting more than 16,800 students.

Students and staff contravening an order to vacate the building were threatened with academic sanctions including expulsion, and may be referred to police for trespassing.

Pro-Palestine encampments have sprung up at university campuses across the nation after similar actions in the United States.

Encampments at Monash and La Trobe universities in Melbourne have been dismantled in recent days, with Deakin to end theirs on Thursday evening.

RMIT protesters are continuing their encampments running as they prepare to rally to call on the university to meet with them and disclose and divest from weapons manufacturers.