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Sri Lanka: Student Body Writes US Envoy Condemning Repression

Massive Student Protests in US Spark International Outcry

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Ambassador Julie Chung, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka [File Photo]

In a fervent plea to the US government, the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) of Sri Lanka has strongly condemned the violent crackdown on university students advocating for a Free Palestine across America. Addressing Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, the IUSF demanded an immediate halt to the repression faced by students and faculty.

Since April 17th, when students from prestigious Ivy League institutions initiated Gaza Solidarity Encampments, a wave of protests has swept through campuses nationwide. Universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, and UPenn have joined the cause, rallying for divestment from companies involved in or supporting Israeli policies.

The movement gained momentum with over 1000 arrests reported, igniting international concern. Incidents of violence marred protests, notably at Emory University in Georgia, where police resorted to tear gas, tasers, and rubber bullets. Shockingly, faculty members were not spared, with reports of professors being forcefully apprehended, including Green Party Presidential Candidate, Jill Stein, at Washington University.

Madushan Chandrajith, Convenor of the IUSF, stood in solidarity with the American students, urging amnesty for those arrested or facing disciplinary measures. The federation echoed the call to cease support for Israel, emphasizing the need to end the oppression of Palestinians.

Protesters remain undeterred, vowing to persist until their demands are met. The IUSF’s resolute stance underscores international solidarity in the quest for justice and freedom for Palestine.

The global community watches closely as student activism amplifies, marking a pivotal moment in the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Here is the full letter;

H.E. Julie Chung

US Ambassador to SL,

US Embassy in Colombo,

210, Galle Rd,

Col-03

US Government, stop the violent repression of students fighting for a Free Palestine!

The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) of Sri Lanka, unequivocally condemns the violent repression and arrests of hundreds of university students across America, who are calling for an end to the US-backed, Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, and for their universities to divest from direct investments in companies doing business in, or with Israel. Some universities such as Yale, for example, are calling for the divestment from military weapons manufacturers that aid Israel’s siege on Gaza. At the University of Columbia, students are targeting tech companies such as Google, which has a cloud computing deal with the Government of Israel.

Since the 17th of April, when students from the Ivy League, University of Columbia, set up Gaza Solidarity Encampments on their university lawn, students from several other universities across America have followed suit. Among them are other Ivy League universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, UPenn, who have joined the fight to Free Palestine. Over 1000 students have been arrested from across the USA since April 17. 

In a particularly violent crackdown, the Atlanta police used tear gas, tasers and allegedly rubber bullets, to break up the Gaza Encampment at Emory University, Georgia. The Police had even wrestled down an Emory Professor, pinned her to the ground, and arrested her. Another professor too was violently arrested, along with many students. Green Party Presidential Candidate, Jill Stein was also violently arrested from a protest at Washington University this week.

Protesting students in the US have vowed that they will continue protesting till their demands are met, and that arrests and violent repression will only help mobilise more students to the movement.

The IUSF calls on the American Government to stop the violent repression of protesting university students and faculty, now! We unconditionally stand alongside fellow university students and faculty in the US, in their fight to free Palestine. We reiterate their calls for their universities to divest from Israel, thereby stopping their supporting of the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people, and to ensure an amnesty to all students and faculty arrested, or facing disciplinary action in connection with these protests. Join the fight! Free Palestine!

In solidarity,

…………………………………..

Madushan Chandrajith,
Convenor,
Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF)

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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