UK universities see cops move in over pro-Palestine camps

  • Post last modified:May 24, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

UK cops arrested 16 people at a protest organised by a pro-Palestine student group at Oxford University. It comes as students across the UK stand their ground over Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Cops move in on Oxford camp

Thames Valley Police said the individuals were arrested Thursday 23 May on suspicion of aggravated trespass, while one was also held on suspicion of common assault. Cops were breaking up a sit in in support of Palestine – and doing it violently:

It follows protests in recent weeks at more than a dozen UK universities, including at world-renowned Oxford and Cambridge, emulating similar actions on campuses in the US and elsewhere.

Demonstrators opposed to Israel’s genocide in Gaza have made various demands, including that universities sever academic and financial ties with the country.

In Oxford, the arrests came after students entered a university administrative building on 23 May morning, claiming they had “exhausted all other avenues of communication” with administrators.

UK universities not budging on Israel’s genocide

A spokesperson for the Oxford Action for Palestine (OA4P) group said:

Instead of engaging in dialogue with her students, the vice-chancellor chose to evacuate the building, place it on lockdown, and call the police to make arrests.

We demand the administration meet with us to negotiate immediately.

Videos posted on social media showed people sitting on the ground in front of a police van being dragged away by officers, as onlookers chanted “shame”:

The university’s union, which represents academics, lecturers and staff, condemned “bringing in police to violently arrest” students who were “engaged in peaceful protest”.

Meanwhile, on Friday 24 May pro-Palestinian students successfully disrupted a meeting of Falmouth University’s board of directors. The students are demanding that the university withdraws its money from Barclays:

Barclays bank has over £2bn in shares and provides £6.1bn in loans and underwriting to nine companies whose weapons, components, and military technology are being used by Israel in its attacks on Palestinians.

In 2022-2023, Falmouth Uni had £24.3m pounds invested in Barclays.

A spokesperson for the action said:

As students, that is our money, and we refuse to see it used to fund companies directly implicated in genocide. The board of directors has power to change this. We refuse to allow this institution, that we invest and give so much money and time in, continue its complicity in genocide.

Featured image via Oxford Action For Palestine – screengrab

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

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