There were reports of “angry scenes” at Queen’s University in Belfast yesterday, as protesters “confronted” the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, some 70 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the university, as the Israeli envoy gave a guest lecture to postgraduate students.
Earlier in the day, “a number of protesters took part in a sit-down demonstration blocking a corridor inside the building”.
Students showing solidarity with the Palestinian people today & protesting the presence of the Israeli ambassador at QUB! Needless to say we made our voices heard and presence known as they were forced to relocate their event.✊🏼🇵🇸 Regev is not welcome here!! #FreePalestine pic.twitter.com/eGDHVF5dx5
— Saoirse O'Neill☘️ (@Saoirse_109) October 16, 2018
Ahead of Regev’s visit, the Queen’s Student Union President Connor Veighey and People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll called for the invitation to be rescinded. Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald also expressed “concern” at the decision to host the Israeli ambassador.
Queen’s Student Union Student Activities officer Robert Murtagh and People Before Profit Belfast councillor Matt Collins were among those who addressed the demonstration.
Murtagh noted that the Queen’s University Students’ Union backed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is “also policy for NUS-USI and the NUS UK”.
“We oppose the continued occupation of Palestine, we oppose the human rights abuses against the people of the occupied territories and the people of Gaza,” he added.
Queen’s defended the invitation to Regev on the grounds of freedom of expression, adding that the university has also invited the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK to visit the university and engage with students in a similar format.