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Gaza Solidarity Encampment

Raquel Frescia - Authorosqledaren@ths.kth.se

Paresh Sakala - Photographerosqledaren@ths.kth.se

Today at 4:30 am, KTH for Palestine set up an encampment on the Valhallavägen campus to demand the university stop being complicit in the unfolding genocide in Gaza.

This morning, inspired by the recent student protests at universities in the US, after half a year of walkouts, open letters, demonstrations, petitions, and meetings with KTH, more than 40 people set up tents at Borggården in the KTH Valhallavägen campus in solidarity with the people in Gaza.

Some KTH staff, faculty, students, and other sympathisers have chosen not to camp but to support the initiative in other ways, e.g., by providing food and drinks and helping sort logistics.

Demands

They demand that KTH break all collaborations with universities and companies supporting and facilitating Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and oppression and genocide of Palestinians.

This demand entails a complete and explicit academic boycott of Israel, according to the PACBI guidelines, as long as the Israeli genocide, occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid system are ongoing.

This demand also includes permanently ending all collaborations with manufacturers and companies that contribute to and benefit from the military-industrial complex. Such collaborations include seminars, conferences and career fairs.

However, career fairs are not typically organised by KTH; they are organised by THS and chapters. Different THS associations have criticised these career fairs and other THS collaborations in the past.

They also demand that KTH protect free speech and assembly on campus by enacting concrete policies for diversity, equity and inclusion, and not retaliate against students, staff, and faculty members for their advocacy.

Other universities, like Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Göteborg, and Chalmers, have also set encampments making similar demands to their academic institutions.

Legality

The Riksdag’s ombudsman (JO) has repeatedly stated that a school is not considered a public place. Therefore, the school management has the right to refuse outside access to the school, especially if negative consequences in order are clearly demonstrable. However, orderly reasons cannot be used as sweeping reasons to exclude a party based on the views the party is expected to put forward.

An occupation, particularly an encampment, is often considered a serious disorder. In that case, the police can remove students. However, people who are not students at the university may be removed simply because they are not students, regardless of whether any disorder is occurring.

If demonstrators refuse to obey the police’s order to leave, they may be convicted of disobedience to law enforcement, punishable with a fine and, more rarely, imprisonment for up to six months. If demonstrators resist physically, they might also be convicted of violent resistance, which has a similar punishment.

However, a trespassing charge is more likely. If the university staff has grounds for them to be removed, i.e., they are non-students, or there is disorder, refusing to leave the premises may constitute trespassing, which is punishable with a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.

Some demonstrators have chosen to cover their faces with facemasks and keffiyehs. Covering one’s face in a way that makes identification difficult can be forbidden by the police if there is a disturbance of public order. In that case, the police must communicate it clearly to all parties. If demonstrators refuse to do so, they risk being convicted for disobedience to law enforcement.

Publicerad: 2024-05-14

Ansvarig utgivare: Raquel Frescia
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