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Mexican College Students in Solidarity with Palestine, and U.S. and European Students

On May 2, students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the country’s largest with 373,000 students, set up an encampment close to the Dean’s office at the University City campus, announcing that they were doing it in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and against the genocide committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip. They also emphasized that the decision to set up the encampment, made following a meeting of the Popular Inter-University Assembly in Solidarity with Palestine, was taken in solidarity with the “global protests”—by students in the United States and Europe—which have been “censored and repressed.”

The UNAM students thus declared that they see themselves as part of an international movement. The area where the encampment is located on the campus esplanade includes a large tent where meetings can be held, plus seven other stations for different activities. It is open to the community. The official opening involved students, faculty, university workers, human rights groups and many others. The university’s administration has indicated it intends to hold a dialogue with the students, not confront them.

Nor is UNAM the only school to become active. According to Milenio, the Student Organization Against Genocide in Palestine at the Colegio de Mexico presented that college’s administration with a petition, and list of demands, asking authorities to issue a statement rejecting Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. The National Polytechnic University is also involved, and others are expected to join in.

Published by La Izquierda Diario, the Inter-University Assembly statement, “noted with attention the encampments set up at American universities to denounce Israel’s genocide and the U.S. government’s lucrative complicity. Our comrades on the other side of the Rio Bravo have caused Joe Biden’s imperialist government to quake … [and] who together with university authorities have unleashed a violent assault, with hundreds of expulsions and brutal repression by police to put an end to efforts to defend the Palestinian people.

“It is those comrades with whom we stand today and with demonstrations at other universities globally such as France’s Sorbonne, and with other sectors of society, such as port workers in India who have refused to load and unload weapons to Israel.” Among the demands listed are: a call to end the genocide of Palestinians and to announce a ceasefire; that Mexico should break diplomatic relations with Israel, and end Israel’s military training of the Mexican armed forces; that UNAM should end all academic relations with Israeli universities and cease all scholarship programs; that all university ties with companies that do business with Israel end; and that there be an end to the repression of encampments on U.S. and French university campuses.