Students have raised the Palestinian flag on university campuses across New South Wales in protest against the murder of 40 peaceful protesters in Gaza over the past two months.
Rallies at the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales gathered students in solidarity with those fighting for their lives in Palestine.
“The resistance of the Palestinian people has never been quelled by arrests or repression”, University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council president Imogen Grant said. “Israel’s attempts to silence and instil fear in Palestinians must be met with outrage and resistance.”
Assala Sayara, a Palestinian social work student, described the dire situation facing Palestinians today: “I used to say Gaza is an open-air prison … now I say Gaza is a prison with no air”.
Attacks that have reduced the city to rubble, electricity available for no more than six hours a day and regular incursions by Israel have made Gaza one of the most dangerous territories on earth.
At UNSW, Greens MP David Shoebridge came “to show support and solidarity for what I think is a building student movement that is demanding a just peace for the Palestinian people … and fundamental human rights”.
Bachelor of arts and education student Jordan Rizk implored students to keep campaigning: “I’m here for unconditional support for the Palestinian people, who undergo apartheid, decades of genocide, and I’m here as a young Arab male to continue that legacy of my ancestors who fought against this colonial ideology.
“The reason why I came today was to give a voice to uplift those in the community at UNSW who want to promote the Palestinian cause.”
The protests were organised by the state branch of the National Union of Students as part of the Books Not Bombs campaign, which aims to end the links between universities and the military.
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The South Australian government has followed New South Wales and Victoria to undermine democratic rights. A bi-partisan bill has been rushed through parliament’s lower house, which proposes fines up to $50,000 or three months in jail if protesters “intentionally or recklessly obstruct the public place”.