Pro-Palestine Oxbridge students set up encampments

Pro-Palestine Oxbridge students set up encampments
Pro-Palestine Oxbridge students set up encampments

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: Students at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge have set up encampments in support of Palestine, The Times reported on Monday.

Around 50 have refused to leave the lawn of King’s College, Cambridge, while students have also declared a “liberated zone” outside Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum.

A banner hung outside King’s College read: “Welcome to the people’s university for Palestine.” Chants of “stop the bombing now” have also been heard on the campus.

The protests have been organized by Oxford Action for Palestine and Cambridge for Palestine.

They are demanding transparency about the universities’ financial links to Israel, which they have described as a “settler colonial state,” and are calling for the end of all investments and endowments from Israeli and Israel-linked companies.

“We have set up camp in university grounds, and we will not move until our demands are met,” the groups said in a statement, adding that the universities are legitimate targets for protests because of their “role in the British empire and its disastrous colonial legacies.”

The Times reported that protesters had been given an itinerary for their involvement including “de-escalation training” and “banner-making.”

A spokesperson for Cambridge University said it is for the college to decide whether to call the police, adding: “The university is fully committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law and we acknowledge the right to protest.

“We ask everyone in our community to treat each other with understanding and empathy. Our priority is the safety of all staff and students.

“We will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia and any other form of racial or religious hatred, or other unlawful activity.”

The relatively small UK protests come after nearly 2,000 people were arrested across the US after widespread demonstrations on over 130 American university campuses about Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

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