Bristol University once again sees students drowning in blood

  • Post last modified:March 13, 2024
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Students have ‘drowned in blood’ outside Wills Memorial Building during Bristol University’s postgraduate offer holder day. It was in protest over the university’s complicity in genocide and ecocide – including Israel‘s current assault on Gaza.

XRYB: drowning in blood at Bristol University

On Wednesday 13 March at around 12:30pm, members of Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol (XRYB) drowned in fake blood outside Bristol University’s Wills Memorial building.

It was an action performed to highlight the university’s continued links with the arms trade and consequent complicity in the genocide of Palestinians. Activists held a banner reading ‘Arms Off Campus’ while three others had fake blood poured over them:

This is the third ‘drowning in blood‘ carried out by the group as part of their ‘Arms out of Bristol and off Campus’ campaign.

As part of this campaign, XRYB is calling on Bristol University to cut its ties with arms companies. The activist group highlights partnerships with Rolls-Royce, Thales, AirBus, QuintiQ, and Leonardo, as well as career links with these companies and more – including arms industry giants, BAE Systems.

The university also benefits financially from these partnerships, having received at least £12m from arms companies in the last seven years.

As part of its ‘Arms of out Bristol’ campaign, XRYB demands that Bristol University:

  • Immediately end all promotion of arms related careers.
  • Commit to no new research partnerships with companies that produce arms.

‘Past time’ that the university cut ties with arms companies

In response to the university’s statement from December 2023 – that ‘defence companies do a lot more than arms manufacturing and development’ – a spokesperson from XRYB reiterates that:

The fact that arms companies carry out other business does not negate the harm that these companies do to the environment and people. This includes the current murdering of civilians in Gaza, the arms for which are in part provided by Bristol University partners BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

While we understand that Bristol University wants to offer a wide range of career opportunities, we believe that can be achieved without connections with arms companies. It is past time that the university career service will transition to promoting more green careers with green companies and stop encouraging students into unethical companies.

As well as the environmental effects of warfare, solidarity with the Palestinian people is at the forefront of the group’s new campaign. As members express outrage at the financial and educational connections that Bristol University has with Israeli companies and weapon manufacturers.

The group’s new campaign couldn’t have come at a better time, as Bristol society – especially students – appear to be ramping up their pressure on institutional ties with arms companies.

XRYB, additionally, asserts that they stand with the students occupying the university’s Victoria Rooms, encouraging all students to sign the open letter they have released.

Bristol University: complicit in genocide?

During Wednesday’s action a student read out a speech which stated:

Bristol University claims to be committed to tackling the climate crisis, but its continued collusion with arms companies suggests otherwise. It is estimated that 5-6% of global C02 emissions are from armed forces and industries, which is more than all civil aviation.

The university maintains careers and research partnerships with arms companies, and over the last seven years it has received over £12m from companies involved in the arms trade, including Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Thales, and BAE systems.

BAE systems and Rolls Royce are involved in the construction of fighter jets used for air strikes in Gaza, and by continuing to partner with such companies, the university is complicit in the destruction of the people of Palestine.

There have already been calls from across the student body for Bristol University to cut ties with arms companies, with anti-arms motions featuring in the Student Council vote in June 2022 and the Annual Members Meeting in February 2023, as well as a regular student protests asserting a link between Bristol University’s arms partners and the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

Featured image and additional images via XRYB

Source link