Student occupations for Gaza spread


STUDENT occupations spread across the country on Thursday in the latest wave of protests against Israel’s siege of Gaza.

Angry undergraduates are demanding that their universities cut all ties with Israel over its 22-day onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians, 400 children among them.

A meeting of over 1,000 students at Manchester University’s student union on Wednesday night passed a resolution comparing Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.

It called on the union to divest from Israel, boycott all companies which support or benefit from the Israeli occupation and lobby the university to adopt a similar policy.

Protesters at Glasgow University celebrated victory on Thursday after ending their marathon 55-hour occupation on Wednesday night.

University principal Sir Muir Russell agreed to organise collections for the Disasters Emergency Committee fund for Gaza, publicise its scholarships for the territory and find ways to help the bombed Islamic University of Gaza.

Students at Goldsmith’s University in south-east London continued their occupation of nearby Deptford town hall on Thursday, which began on Wednesday night, to secure two masters degree scholarships for Palestinian students.

A lecture theatre sit-in at Edinburgh University entered its second day without incident.

Students demanded that the university divest from Israel and from arms companies QinetiQ and BAE systems, send material to war-damaged schools and hospitals and provide five scholarships for Gazan students.

Occupations also continued at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

At Sheffield Hallam University, students protested against the student union president’s decision to suspend equal opportunities officer Matt Vicary for taking part in a solidarity demonstration at a recent National Union of Students conference and the union’s failure to condemn university threats to suspend students involved in a recent occupation.

Beginning with a 24-hour occupation at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on January 13, the sit-ins have spread to the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, Kingston and Goldsmiths in the capital and across the country to universities in Birmingham, Sussex, Warwick, Manchester, Manchester, Oxford, Leeds, Cambridge, Sheffield, Bradford, Nottingham, Strathclyde, Newcastle and Glasgow.