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‘Cries of “UQ you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide” blared out through megaphones across the Great Court.

On February the 29th, hundreds of UQ students marched through their campus chanting for a Free Palestine in the largest campus protest in over a decade. Students held placards demanding the university cut ties with weapons manufacturers and chanted.

The action was one of dozens erupting across Australian campuses in the first ever national student strike for Palestine, organised by Students for Palestine collectives across the country. The action began with speeches from student activists, received intently by 200+ student protestors, staff and community members.

Maryam Noura – from the student Muslim society – spoke on the depravity of the genocide in Gaza.

‘Envision a daily existence where sustenance is reduced to animal fodder. Where families perish while shielding their children… This is the reality faced by Palestinians every day.’

Will Sim – an Indigenous student activist and member of Socialist Alternative – spoke further about the connections between Indigenous rights in Australia and the movement for Palestine.

‘When I spoke at Invasion Day I was so happy to see all the Palestine solidarity. I think it’s beautiful that there is such a big connection between the two movements. The fight for Aboriginal rights and the fight for Palestine is the same fight, it’s a fight against the Australian government, racism and oppression.’

The protest was organised by Students For Palestine UQ to condemn genocide and apartheid and to show solidarity with Palestinians. Activists demanded the University permanently cut ties with weapons manufacturers.

One of these companies – Boeing – is celebrated by UQ with a centre on campus dedicated to the company’s achievements. On the company’s website it boasts of its close relationship with Israel.

‘The relationship between Boeing and Israel goes back more than 75 years – to the founding of the state of Israel.’

Boeing proudly supplies the IDF with fighter jets, missiles, bombs and munitions. Boeing’s relationship to a university that claims to act with ‘integrity, courage and truth’ is ironic, and a disgusting symptom of the University being run like a business.

Naturally, The Boeing Centre was treated to a visit by outraged students.

The National Union of Student’s Queer Officer – Ella Gutteridge – spoke outside the Boeing Centre, guarded by a line of security officers with police watching intently for any hint of property damage.

‘This is the moral question of our generation. Our Vietnam, our Iraq. Just as students then threw their lives into the anti-war movement, we need to ask ourselves how we can contribute to standing up to our government’s complicity in genocide.’

NUS Queer Officer, Ella (photographed), speaking at the rally.

There can be no business as usual while genocide is being conducted against the Palestinians. Students stand on the right side of history, the opposite side to nearly all of the institutions in Australian society. like the Labor government – who has pledged their support for Israel again and again, and recently cut much needed funding to Palestinian aid organisation UNRWA – the appalling mainstream media, and even our own universities.

Our own Government’s slavish support of Israel and commitment to militarism mean its urgent for more people outraged with the mass killings, starvation and torture of Palestinians to move into concrete action. Be on the right side of history, stand against apartheid Israel – come to the next meeting, join the next protest and make your voice heard.

Follow Students 4 Palestine UQ (@students4palestine_uq) on Instagram for more information

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