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Solidarity Encampments Spread to Universities Worldwide

The student movement in the United States has inspired encampments globally to denounce repression and support the fight for Palestinian liberation.

Kyle Thibodeau

May 9, 2024
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Students at the University of Sydney in Australia set up an encampment for Palestine, waving Palestinian flags.

The university encampments that gained national attention at Columbia University in New York and spread across the U.S. have inspired students in universities internationally to set up their own encampments. With over 100 universities in the U.S. and 20 campuses internationally engaging in the campaigns for Gaza, it is important that we show support and solidarity to the students across the globe engaged in this fight. 

The main demands of the encampments in the U.S. have been for universities to divest from the apartheid regime of Israel. International encampments have also taken up this call, and focused on pressuring their respective governments to withdraw diplomatic support for Israel. The encampments have reinvigorated the movement for Palestine after a period of decline, which was reflected in the movement becoming more isolated from the masses and geared toward pressuring the U.S. Democratic Party in the uncommitted campaigns earlier this year. This reinvigoration of the movement by students has led to increased repression on campuses. 

Inspired by U.S. students protesting their own educational institutions’ active participation in funding the genocide in Gaza, and facing brutal police violence in response, international student groups in several countries have established encampments. Students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, have demanded that the university cut all funding to Israel. In addition, students in Amsterdam and the Free University in Berlin have set up encampments and temporarily occupied campus buildings. Encampments have spread to Australia, including at the University of Sydney. In Mexico, over 4,000 students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City discussed, debated, and voted through democratic assemblies to demand that the university break relations with Israel.

Students from universities in the Middle East have also formed encampments. In Jordan, the government still recognizes the Israeli state, even after the country “condemned” Israel’s actions in Gaza. Students there have formed solidarity encampments in several universities, including Al-Hussain Technical University, to pressure their government to cut political ties and to actively pressure Israel to stop its genocidal campaign. Students at Lebanese American University in Lebanon, American University in Cairo, Kuwait University, and Thamar University in Yemen have also mobilized. 

The struggle for the defeat of the Israeli regime and to stop the brutal genocide of Palestinians cannot happen in isolation in any single country or it is doomed to failure. Student leadership has made this international connection real and tangible. In order for this to continue, the global movement for Palestine must unite to combat the violent repression of students fighting for divestment and democratic rights.

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