Anti-Israel protesters outside the Library of Trinity College Dublin, home to one of the most important manuscripts in the world, temporarily closed down the building as they called for the Irish university to boycott the Jewish state.
“Israel institutions are complicit in Palestinian genocide,” the group wrote on Instagram ahead of the protest. “Trinity will not cut ties. Demand better.”
The college, which is also called the University of Dublin, was created by a royal charter in 1592. It has about 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Trinity’s Old Library, Ireland’s largest, houses the Book of Kells, a Latin translation of the Gospels with ornate decorations that likely dates to around the year 800 and has been described as “the chief treasure of the Western world.”
The anti-Israel protesters temporarily blocked access to the library—a major tourist attraction—last week, the university’s student newspaper reported. A leader of the student group Trinity BDS told the Trinity News that the group has “been asking Trinity College Dublin for so long to at least make a statement condemning what is going on in Gaza. They haven’t done so.”
Protesters also chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Trinity College Dublin, shame on you,” the paper reported.
The library regularly turns the pages of the Book of Kells so that different pages are visible on different days. Students at the school also evidently turn the page often on the causes for which they shut down the building.
Last September, students blocked the library, citing rent hikes.