At noon today, Trinity College Dublin Boycott Boycott, Divestment, Sanction Implementation Group (Trinity BDS) dropped Palestinian flags from the College Green facing facade of Regent House in a “mark of solidarity with the Palestinian people”.
The demonstration, which was supported by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union also consisted of a blockade of the Front Gate. The demonstrators held Palestinian flags and joined in chants such as “one, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state”.
In a statement following the drop, the group said its actions were grounded “in the principles of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which is a peaceful resistance movement that aims to exert pressure on Israel to comply with international law in its treatment of the Palestinians”.
The statement added that “BDS does not endorse the targeting of individuals”, noting that anti-zionism is not equivalent to anti-semitism: “Trinity BDS condemns any individual who uses the plight of the Palestinian people to advance anti-semitism. The rise in antisemitic, Islamophobic and anti-Arab racism across the world in recent weeks is dangerous and shameful. Racism and discrimination, of any kind, have no place on our college campuses. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the liberation and safety of all people.”
In a statement today TCD BDS Chair Isobel Duffy said: “As an institution, home to a student body, notable for its opposition to apartheid and occupation, Trinity College Dublin ought to reflect a proactive position as it did in similar issues of global significance. We raise our flags to clearly state the fact that despite making progress on certain areas of policy, our institution must take a bolder stance”.
“The Palestinian people desperately need the support of the international community, and they are crying out for help. It would be a dereliction of our duty as human beings to ignore this cry.”
In a statement to Trinity News the union said: “Every day people in Gaza have to worry about misiles being dropped on them, while today on campus, people largest inconvenience will be having to walk around to the Arts Block entrance”.
“We have the privilege to turn off our phones and not think about what is happening in the world, but the innocent civilians of Gaza do not. Have a heart and support victims of war, we stand in solidarity with TCD BDS.”
TCDSU President László Molnárfi said: “Currently, Trinity College Dublin does not live up to the University of Sanctuary award which it was given in 2021. This award is given for work in promoting the integration, inclusion and welfare of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. Our College has ties with 13 Israeli organisations, amongst them those which are actively involved in the global arms trade.”
“Every day, lives are lost, families are destroyed and oppression continues to reign because of the military-war industry – we must actively fight against it”, he added.
On the demonstration, a spokesperson for College told Trinity News: “We fully respect students’ right to protest in a peaceful and respectful manner. The College was not aware that this protest was due to take place today and it is important for many good reasons that protests are signalled in advance. ”
Today’s demonstration follows last weekend’s letter from TCDSU BDS to Provost Linda Doyle calling for College to cut ties with 13 Israeli institutions. The letter also criticised Doyle for College’s silence on Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza. College declined to comment on the letter.
This article was updated at 15:25 to include a statement from College.