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Oxford University students arrested at pro-Palestinian sit-in, protesters say

May 23, 2024 at 4:29 pm

Pro-Palestinian students from the University of Oxford take part in an encampment with dozens of tents outside the Pitt Rivers Museum to call for a full divestment from Israel and boycott of Israel-linked companies in Oxford, United Kingdom on May 10, 2024. [Muhammed Yaylalı – Anadolu Agency]

British police arrested about a dozen Oxford University students and scuffled with some during a pro-Palestinian sit-in at the University premises on Thursday, the protesters said.

The Oxford Action for Palestine group (OA4P) said University authorities called in police after students began their protest at administration offices, as has been happening on campuses in Britain, the US and elsewhere during the conflict in Gaza, Reuters reports.

Thames Valley police said they were aware of the incident and would give information later.

The University had no immediate comment on Thursday’s events, though it has previously said it respects the right to freedom of expression in the form of peaceful protests.

Footage posted on social media by OA4P showed altercations between officers and students sitting in the road, blockading a police van which it said was carrying detainees.

“Let them go,” the demonstrators chanted.

The protesters had been calling for the University to divest from companies with ties to Israel, which is at war with the Palestinian group, Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“It is evident the administration would rather arrest, silence, and physically assault its own students than confront its enabling of Israel’s genocide in Gaza,” the group said on X.

Speaking at the scene, Oxford politics student, Kendall Gardner, said police had dragged students out of the way. “We’ve been met with extreme violence and hostility,” she told Reuters.

READ: Students set up Gaza solidarity encampment at LSE