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Glass smashed in furious uni Palestine protest

Written by on May 9, 2024

A window has been smashed at a major university as furious pro-Palestine sentiment continues to ramp up across Australia’s tertiary institutions.

Protesters descended on the Boeing centre at the University of Queensland on Thursday, denouncing the university’s ties to the US aerospace giant and weapons manufacturer for its alleged support for Israel.

At one point Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather led the protest and said the company’s products were “taking lives”.

“Standing behind us is Boeing, Boeing is Boeing planes, Boeing missiles and Boeing weapons that are tearing apart human flesh and that are destroying and taking lives, Palestinian lives,” Mr Chandler-Mather said as reported by The Courier Mail.

Students for Palestine have established a camp at the university and Boeing is a central target of their fury.

“We’re quite angry as well by our university’s ties to weapons companies that are complicit in the genocide and we’re very angry about our government’s response to the genocide and we’re also very much aware, that as we speak, there is an invasion of Rafah happening,” activist Laura Nolan said.

Will Sim said the camp would remain in place indefinitely until the demands of the protesters were met.

“Our demands are simple, no more weapons companies on campus. The Boeing centre is a disgrace. A physical space for this corporation to advertise its presence. No more ties to the Israeli defence force. Cut all ties with Israel.”

Video from Thursday shows a smashed classroom window at the Boeing centre.

It is not yet clear who smashed the window but a University of Queensland spokeswoman told NCA NewsWire the behaviour of one individual at the protest was “completely unacceptable”.

“There was an active police and security presence on site to ensure the safety of staff, students and those involved,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are in daily contact with police and are making a formal report, which will include CCTV footage.

“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we have written to protest organisers to raise this with them as a matter of urgency.”

UQ is grappling with rolling tensions and possible assaults after pro-Palestine and pro-Israel camps were set up at the university.

Queensland Police are investigating two potential assaults of UQ security guards at the campus last week.

“Investigations are ongoing into the alleged assault of two security guards by two men at the educational facility earlier this month,” a police spokesman said.

“While we respect the right for anyone in Queensland to protest peacefully, violence of any kind will not be tolerated.

“Police will act swiftly if any acts reach a criminal threshold.”

The university is investigating whether the persons involved in the alleged assault are a part of the UQ community.

Pro-Palestine camps have mushroomed across many of Australia’s major universities, including the University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide.

Victoria Police have established a new mobile surveillance unit at Melbourne’s Monash University after hard line pro-Palestine protesters appeared to block students from walking freely around the campus this week.

Video captured by a Monash student shows heated, expletive-laden exchanges with a pro-Palestine camp set up at the university.

In one exchange, the students asks protesters at the camp: “Is it all right if I walk through?”

One protester, talking with an American accent, replies: “No, you can’t walk through.”

When the student asks why he is not allowed to walk through his own university, the protester says: “Because you’re a Zionist and you’re instigating s**t with us and you need to f**k off.”

In a statement on the encampment, Monash University said its priority was to ensure the “wellbeing and safety of our students and staff and to uphold our core principles of scholarly inquiry and academic freedom”.

“Monash’s commitment to a diverse, inclusive and equitable community for all is a foundational principle for the development of a rich culture, where all members of the community are treated with fairness and respect.

“The university does not tolerate behaviour that is not in line with university policies such as the community safety and security policy and equity, diversity and anti-discrimination policy.

“This behaviour includes: disruption of university activity, including lectures, classes, research activity, occupation of a building, behaviour or messages that are racist including antisemitic or islamophobic, discriminatory, harassing, vilifying or victimising – as outlined in our anti-racism statement.”

The new surveillance measures come as the Coalition calls for a senate inquiry into anti-Semitism in Australian universities.

A wave of anti-Jewish hatred has washed over Australia since the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

Hamas operatives slaughtered 1200 Israelis, including children, in the attack, and Israel has responded with a rolling bombing campaign in Gaza that has led to the deaths of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry reported 662 anti-Semitic incidents across October and November 2023, a 738 per cent increase from the previous year.

On Thursday, Opposition education spokeswoman Senator Sarah Henderson said the protests on university campuses had become “intolerable”.

“Free speech and academic freedom are fundamental on university campuses. But so is the right to go about your studies peacefully to learn in an environment which is peaceful, (and) which does not disrupt your learning,” she told Sky News.

“We are hoping for support right across the parliament for a Senate inquiry, which will shine a light into this conduct, (and) will look at possible changes to the law and of course, will give Jewish students and staff a very important voice. ”

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