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Dublin antiwar protest encampment taken down after college commits to divestment

Students opposed to the Gaza war began dismantling their protest camp at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland on Wednesday evening, following the institution’s agreement to divest from three Israeli companies identified by the United Nations for their connections to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Trinity announced plans to divest as early as next month, with its endowment fund also seeking to divest from investments in other Israeli companies in the future. In a statement released Wednesday evening, the college expressed solidarity with the students and condemned violence and war, including recent atrocities and the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

The statement, approved by the college’s board, acknowledged the peaceful protest organized by the student union and its branch of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement. This demonstration coincided with pro-Palestinian sit-ins and protests against antisemitism at other European universities, echoing actions seen in the United States.

Jenny Maguire, incoming president of Trinity’s student union, contrasted the calm scene at the college’s Fellow’s Square, where students were dismantling flags and tents, with the police intervention seen at some U.S. universities. Trinity, she emphasized, rejected such tactics.

Prof. Eoin O’Sullivan, who led the college’s negotiation team, praised the productive discussions and credited the students for their role. Support for the Palestinian cause runs deep in Ireland, where many draw parallels between Israel’s occupation and British colonialism. Ireland, alongside Spain, is among the EU’s strongest advocates for Palestine, with both prime ministers expressing intent to recognize a Palestinian state when appropriate.

Protesting students welcomed the college’s concessions, including the establishment of a working group to assess future involvement with Israeli entities and support for students from Gaza. The protest’s disruption led to the closure of the renowned Book of Kells exhibition, a major source of revenue for the college.

Professor O’Sullivan indicated that the review of Trinity’s ties with Israel and the broader Middle East would likely resemble recent assessments of the college’s colonial legacy, which resulted in renaming a library formerly dedicated to philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, a Trinity graduate and former slave owner.


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