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Students turfed from second pro-Palestine encampment

Student protesters are being urged to "shut down your city for Palestine".

Student protesters are being urged to "shut down your city for Palestine".

A second major university has moved to shut down a pro-Palestine encampment.

Australian National University in Canberra told students to prepare to vacate the camp after a meeting was held with organisers on Wednesday.

“The university has communicated its expectations… ANU expects participants to follow these reasonable directions,” a spokeswoman said.

ACT’s National Tertiary Education Union said students have been directed to collect belongings and vacate the encampment on Friday.

Deakin University in Melbourne ordered the immediate dismantling and removal of a similar encampment at its Burwood campus on Monday, but students are resisting and plan on rallying on Wednesday evening.

Pro-Palestine students at universities across Australia have created more than a dozen encampments in total and say they have no plans to move.

Deakin’s deputy vice-chancellor Kerrie Parker ordered the dismantling of its encampment saying students had agreed to run the set up until Friday, May 10.

Parker said the protest was disrupting the function of the campus.

However, the tertiary sector’s peak body head said universities had a legal obligation to uphold free speech.

“But it is appropriate that university vice chancellors and management take action when freedom of speech turns into hate speech,” Universities Australia chief executive Luke Sheehy told AAP.

“I’ve been working with our vice chancellors closely and they’re taking appropriate action.”

The move comes as keffiyehs are banned from Victoria’s parliamentary chamber.

Speaker Maree Edwards deemed the scarves, a long-time symbol of Palestinian nationalism, as a political item of clothing on Wednesday.

Victorian Greens MP Gabrielle de Vietri was told to remove her keffiyeh in parliament by Edwards on May 7 after Liberal MP David Southwick said he found it offensive.

Southwick made the request after the chamber was interrupted by pro-Palestine protesters during the state budget sitting.State Greens leader Ellen Sandell sought to clarify whether the keffiyeh was permanently banned.

“Political paraphernalia and badges are not allowed in the house,” Edwards said.

Sandell argued MPs had been allowed to show support for various causes and wear cultural or religious items such as jewellery in parliament.

“An MP today is wearing a yellow pin, which could be perceived by some as support for the Israeli military,” she said.

“Others are wearing rainbow badges.”

Sandell said the decision made the Victorian parliament one of the only ones in the world to ban the traditional item.

Southwick, who represents the electorate of Caulfield which has a large Jewish community, said his yellow pin was worn in support of Israeli hostages still in Gaza.

“It’s not even a comparison,” he told AAP.

In federal parliament, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson walked into the Senate chamber wearing an Israeli scarf.

“It breaks my heart to see the same thing happen in our country with the Jewish students who are mistreated on university campuses,” she said.

Deputy Premier Ben Carroll’s office in Melbourne’s northwest was also vandalised on Wednesday morning.

“I urge everyone to please be civil, and to remember what makes Victoria such a strong state is our diversity, our harmony,” he said.

Liberal senator Sarah Henderson and Independent MP Allegra Spender have pushed for an inquiry into anti-Semitism at universities.

Henderson will move a motion to refer the issue to an inquiry in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

– AAP

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