The pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Wollongong’s main campus will extend through next week.

Located in the centre of campus, it joins a growing trend of encampments being established on university and colleges in opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza since last October.

Palestine Society member, Megan Guy is one of the main organisers and a spokesperson for the Wollongong encampment.

“We’re definitely inspired by [especially] the bravery of the students in the US,” she said.

“They really have been at the forefront of taking on the role that the US empire plays.”

While protests of the situation in Gaza have been ongoing since October, the current encampment movement began on April 17 at Columbia University in New York City.

Many campuses across the United States followed, and now over 160 encampments exist across the world, with 20 being set up by April 29.

The central demands of the UOW protesters are for the university to disclose and divest from any partnerships associated with the Israeli military.

In particular, the encampment objects to UOW’s relationship with Bisalloy steel, who have had numerous contracts with Israeli defence manufacturers.

Since the encampment began on Wednesday, the protesters have put an emphasis on disavowing the recent advance into Rafah by the Israeli military, condemning what they see as needless escalation of an already inhumane situation.

“The genocide’s obviously getting more severe with the assault on Rafah,” Ms Guy said.

Rafah is currently the temporary home of an estimated 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.

Much criticism has been levied against Israel for this most recent move, with United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres emphasising the “humanitarian nightmare” that an advance into Rafah would cause.

The first Australian university to establish an encampment was the University of Sydney.

University of Sydney protesters have also given words of encouragement to the UOW encampment on social media.

So far, the UOW encampment is the second in New South Wales and seventh in Australia.

Student protests have often been some of the most prominent over the last century, with the student-led protests against the Vietnam war being particularly correlated with a shift in public sentiment.



Additional reporting by Kiara Martin