Northern Ireland

Queen’s University student protester describes Hamas October 7 attack as ‘resistance’

A protest was held at the university campus by QUB Palestine Assembly

Members of the Queen’s University Belfast Palestine Assembly hold a ‘sit in’
Members of the Queen’s University Belfast Palestine Assembly held a ‘sit in’ on Tuesday (Niall Carson/PA)

A pro-Palestine student protester who was among a group of individuals who occupied the main building at Queen’s University has described the Hamas October 7 attack on Israel as “resistance”.

The student, named only as Tamana, also refused to condemn the actions of Hamas, which launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza in what is regarded as the deadliest in Israel’s history last year.

The woman also said they wanted to “draw attention as Queen’s at the moment does not seem to value democracy”.

It comes after the QUB Palestine Assembly gathered to protest at the Belfast university building on Tuesday.

They moved into the Lanyon Building mid-afternoon on Tuesday, where they heard speeches, sang resistance anthems and shouted slogans, including ones condemning the position of local political parties on the war in Gaza.

The group issued a series of demands for the university to take action on the Middle East conflict, including calls for the removal of Hilary Clinton as the university’s chancellor.

Speaking on the BBC Nolan Show on Wednesday, one of the protesters described the actions of Hamas on October 7 as “resistance”.

During the attacks, Hamas fighters breached the Gaza–Israel barrier, attacking military bases and killing civilians in 21 communities.

There were more than 1,200 deaths, primarily Israeli citizens with more than 250 people also taken hostage.

Almost 400 civilians were among those killed while celebrating at the Nova music festival, with many more wounded.

A UN investigation also found there were “reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence - including rape and gang-rape” was carried out during the attacks.

Hamas rejected the UN report as “baseless and only aimed at demonising the Palestinian resistance”.

Since the October 7 attack Israel has launched an offensive in Gaza killing more than 34,000 Palestinians and forcing more than 1.7m from their homes and into refugee camps where they face disease and hunger.

Asked if the protesters in Belfast had called on QUB to condemn the actions of Hamas, the QUB student protester said on Wednesday: “No we didn’t... I don’t want to reduce what is happening in Palestine to October 7.

“2.2 million people were kept in an open air prison, the only open air prison in the whole world - for the world and the west to not expect resistance is insane, it really is.”

Asked by host Stephen Nolan to clarify her comments about the targeting of innocent civilians at the music festival on October 7, the student answered: “It is resistance, it is”.

She added: “I don’t think civilians should suffer anywhere, but it is is a resistance to the mass bombardments that have happened in Palestine”.

Protesters at Queen’s University in Belfast on Tuesday in support of Palestine.
Protesters at Queen’s University in Belfast on Tuesday in support of Palestine. PICTURE COLM LENAGHAN

Tamana also said: “What is happening in Palestine is a genocide and it has been going on for 107 years.

“An estimated 120,000 people have died, we cannot step back from this, we are witnessing an actual genocide... we have to keep doing something.

“So many people in the western media will say that this can be reduced to a single day, it cannot, it has been happening for years.”