Students at Irish college end anti-Israel encampment, say school agreed to divestment demands

Illustrative: People walk around the grounds of Trinity College Dublin on March 12, 2020. (Paul Faith/AFP)
Illustrative: People walk around the grounds of Trinity College Dublin on March 12, 2020. (Paul Faith/AFP)

DUBLIN — Students at Ireland’s prestigious Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on Wednesday end a five-day-long protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza amid the war against the Hamas terror group, as they say their demands were met by the university leadership.

In a statement posted on its website, the university says that “an agreement was reached” after “successful talks between the university’s senior management and the protestors.”

Laszlo Molnarfi, president of the institution’s student union, says TCD’s statement is a “testament to grassroots student-staff power.”

The camp would be brought to an end Wednesday evening, he tells public broadcaster RTE.

TCD says that the university “will complete a divestment from investments in Israeli companies that have activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory and appear on the UN blacklist in this regard.”

Student activists began the protest on Friday as a “solidarity encampment with Palestine” echoing similar protests on US campuses.

Molnarfi on Saturday said that the protest would continue until the university severs any relationships it has with Israel.

Dozens of students pitched tents on one of the main squares at the university, and piled benches to block the entrance to a library that houses the world-famous ninth century gospel manuscript Book of Kells, one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions.

Security staff closed the campus gates — which are usually open to the public — during the protest.

“With the encampment and blockade of the Book of Kells removed, plans are being put in place to return to normal university business for staff, students, and members of the public,” TCD says.

Last week the union was fined 214,000 euros ($230,000) by the university for loss of tourist revenue after disruptive protests this year over student fees, rent and the war in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protests against Israel have rocked US campuses for weeks, spreading to countries including France and Australia.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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