On Wednesday, 29th November, in protest of Trinity’s continued connections with universities in Israel, a group of students occupied Regent House above the front gate entrance.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President, László Molnárfi, began by reading out a statement on the staircase addressing the motivation for the protest.
He began by stating that he and other students were “disgusted” at what they saw as “College’s complicity in genocide and indiscriminate killing of men, women and children in Gaza perpetuated by the settler-colonial regime of Israel”.
He declared “an occupancy of indefinite duration, and the creation of an autonomous zone in Regent’s house”, demanding that Trinity “cut ties” with Israel and “make a public statement denouncing Israel’s genocidal actions”.
He referenced to a statement made by Trinity’s Global Incident Response Unit on their website, which reads: “Many people in our College community are affected by global events, for example the war in Ukraine, human-caused and natural disasters and, most recently, the Hamas attacks and hostage-taking in Israel and the impact of the military response by Israel on the Palestinian population.”
In response, Molnárfi said: “When it came to Ukraine, they cut ties, they denounce Russia, rightly so, they lit front entrance in Ukrainian colors; yet when it comes to Palestine we hear nothing, complete silence, and one sentence on a website calling a genocide a military response”.
Shortly after the occupation began, security arrived and were heard engaging with the occupants. The fire alarm was then set off in an attempt to force the occupants to leave under fire safety rules.
A College representative was sent to negotiate with the occupants, and security did not allow anyone to enter the building.
In a statement, TCDSU expressed its solidarity with the protest, saying that College “must cut its ties with apartheid Israel”, and that for College “to continue their relationship is to condone violence, genocide, and the violation of human rights as noted by multiple international human rights organisations”.
The occupation ended at 8am on Thursday morning.