The Slovenia Times

Students end Palestine protest after six days

Students at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences stage a pro-Palestinian protest. Photo: Bor Slana/STA

Students at the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences (FDV) have ended their sit-in protest in support of Palestine after six days after their demands were upheld by a number of departments across different faculties, as well as the FDV and ultimately by the University of Ljubljana.

Students' demands included a clear condemnation of genocide by Israel, suspension of all cooperation with Israeli universities and companies, an aid fund for Palestinian students, recognition of a history of apartheid and legitimacy of the Palestinian freedom movement, among other things.

Ending their sit-in in the main lecture hall of the FDV late on 13 May, the protesters said that all of their demands had been met after the University and the FDV issued statements.

The university pledged to propose a fund for Palestinian students and expressed its support for immediate ceasefire in Gaza. It also said it had no umbrella cooperation agreement with Israeli institutions, but individual faculties had cooperation agreement in place, but no projects or exchanges were taking place at the moment.

Contentious project with Technion

However, as originally reported by the student radio station Radio Študent, the University of Ljubljana is coordinating a €1.5 million project titled Strengthening the Excellence of Additive Manufacturing Capabilities (SEAMAC), funded by Horizon Europe and carried out in a consortium with Technische Universiteat Bergakademie Freiberg and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

The latter, which received €400,000 as part of SEAMAC, allegedly cooperates closely with the Israeli arms industry and produces machines and devices used by the Israeli forces for surveillance and attacks on Palestinians.

SEAMAC coordinator Joško Valentinčič told the newspaper Delo that the project was meant for the toolmaking and not the arms industry, but acknowledged that any technical development can be abused for military purposes.

The Faculty of Engineering said in a statement that it supported the rule of law and peaceful resolution of any military conflict, adding that it also supported exchange of knowledge among higher education institutions "in the academic spirit and political independence".

Valentinčič said that the project "strengthened the competences of the University on Ljubljana", and the faculty is not thinking about withdrawing from the project running between 2023 and 2025.

Support from several institutions

Earlier, the Faculty of Social Sciences leadership urged the university to suspend cooperation with Israeli universities and firms with ties with the Israeli arms industry.

The faculty also expressed support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people, and for all students and faculty staff "brutally oppressed for their opposition to the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people".

Support for the students' demands had been expressed by several departments at the FDV, by seven departments at other universities, eight NGOs, two research institutes, student councils at three faculties, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, and the Institute of Criminology of the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana.


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