Creating new perspectives since 2009

Pro-Palestine protests at US universities reach UK shores across Atlantic

May 1, 2024 at 8:29 pm

Palestinian children, displaced due to Israeli attacks and living in tents in the city of Rafah in Gaza, organise a demonstration to express gratitude to students at universities protesting against Israeli attacks on May 1, 2024 [Jehad Alshrafi/Anadolu Agency]

Pro-Palestinian protests sweeping across US colleges have spread to the UK, with students from several universities demonstrating on campus Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Demonstrators from Newcastle University, Bristol University, Warwick University, Leeds University, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University gathered on campus and set up encampments in solidarity with pro-Palestinian student groups across the Atlantic.

A group called “Newcastle Apartheid off Campus” at Northern England’s Newcastle University announced that they set up a camp and were planning a daily on-campus rally at 5 p.m. local time (1800 GMT).

In a statement on X, the group accused the University of profiting from the Israeli genocide in Gaza. They also posted a list of demands, including an end to the University’s collaboration with the Italian aerospace and defence company, Leonardo, which the group claimed sells military equipment to the Israeli army.

READ: Approximately 300 people detained at Columbia University, City College

They also demanded that the University cut all ties with Israeli universities to show clear support for Palestine and support calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

At Bristol University, students set up a camp to protest their university, accusing it of being complicit in Israel’s “genocide” against Palestinians.

The student protesters also raised banners reading: “No one is free until Palestine is free”, “Arms companies are killing children” and “Bristol University, you have blood on your hands”.

In the city of Sheffield, staff, students and alumni from Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University have formed a group called the “Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine”.

The group also set up tents in the University garden in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.

The ongoing campus protests began last month at Columbia University in New York with a large group of demonstrators establishing a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on school grounds.

After weeks of tension, approximately 300 pro-Palestine demonstrators were arrested by police responding to protests at Columbia University and the City College of New York late Tuesday, city Mayor, Eric Adams, said.

Police officers entered Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, which was occupied by pro-Palestinian protesters, and the building was cleared of demonstrators about two hours later.

The protests have served as a flashpoint for the wider movement to protest Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

The war was triggered by the 7 October Hamas incursion last year which killed some 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

Israel has since waged a relentless offensive on the Palestinian enclave killing more than 34,500 Palestinians and injuring over 76,000 others.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of a man-made famine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

OPINION: Gaza revives student movement in the US