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University pro-Palestine encampment ordered to disband

Pro-Palestine occupations at the University of Melbourne are set to be packed up.

Pro-Palestine occupations at the University of Melbourne are set to be packed up. Photo: AAP

A pro-Palestine encampment at a major Victorian university has been ordered to disband immediately due to “unacceptable behaviour”.

Deakin University deputy vice-chancellor Kerrie Parker ordered the “immediate dismantling and removal of the current encampment” at its Burwood campus, in an email to organisers on Monday evening.

“Your ability to undertake protest, political discourse and debate on Deakin campuses is not being infringed or curtailed,” Parker wrote.

“The right to freedom of speech does not extend to the establishment of unauthorised camps which pose hygiene and safety risks and restrict the access, availability and use of Deakin premises and facilities for the benefit of the Deakin community of users.

“The closure of Morgan Walk, a restriction brought about by the unacceptable behaviour of protesters, is creating an impediment to the normal use and function of the campus,” Parker wrote.

However, encampment organisers have already vowed to not go quietly and have organised a rally in response to the eviction notice for Wednesday evening.

Deakin Students for Palestine’s Jasmine Duff said the university had not been in touch before ordering the group to disband.

“We’re going to keep our protests going,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne on Tuesday morning.

“We’re having a peaceful protest encampment like students all over the world right now because we’re protesting against war.

“Over 35,000 people, including over 8000 children have now been killed in one of the darkest atrocities of our generation, and we are peace activists standing up against that.”

In a social media post, the group reiterated its demand for the university vice-chancellor to meet with encampment organisers and divest its ties with Israel and weapons manufacturers.

Premier Jacinta Allan on Tuesday called for calm on university campuses across the state.

“Universities, they can be a place for protest,” she told reporters.

“But that protest must be peaceful, it must be respectful and it also shouldn’t be compromising the safety of students who are going to university to further their education.”

More than 1000 people attended an encampment at Monash University’s Clayton campus on Monday night as part of a pre-planned event, according to Victoria Police.

The University of Melbourne said a small group of people on scooters entered its Parkville campus and “aggressively harassed” students protesting on Sunday night.

– AAP

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