University Occupations for Gaza
Reports and analysis of the wave of university occupations in solidarity with Gaza
Students who had been occupying a lecture theatre at the University of Nottingham have branded university authorites a "national disgrace" after they were violently evicted by university security. Around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were forced to wait in the cold and only alowed in one by one to pick up their belongings. They were forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
The occupation of B62 in the Law and Social Science Building at the University of Notttingham was today violently evicted by university security. The occupation which has been taking place since Wednesday is in solidarity with the people of Gaza and is one of a wave of university occupations which have taken place across the UK following the recent Israeli assault against Gaza. Although the occupiers have been clear throughout that they had no intention of disrupting other students' education, the university had refused to follow the lead of Kings College in London and negotiate with the occupying students.
Previous Feature: Nottingham university occupied in solidarity with Gaza
Newswire: Eviction video & post occupation statement from Nottingham Uni | Nottingham University Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted | Nottingham University Authorities: A National Disgrace
Recent Gaza Demonstrations: Nottingham Gaza Emergency Protest 1 | 2 | Gaza Public Meeting at Bobbers Mill Community Centre | Nottingham Gaza Protest 'candle-lit' Vigil 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza Protest March Through Nottingham to Market Sq 1 | 2 | Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Gaza support protest at Nottingham BBC | Tash's 'Collected' actions Piccys 2009
On Wednesday evening (28 January), a group of students started an occupation of a tenth floor lecture theatre in the Owen Building, where an earlier meeting on the conflict in Gaza had taken place.
Following other occupations around the country, students and workers voted to occupy the lecture theatre and democratically approved a list of demands to Sheffield Hallam University. The full list of demands can be read in their announcement on the newswire.
On Thursday morning (29 January) negotiations began with university management.
A teach-in was scheduled for Thursday afternoon and a screening of La Haine for the early evening. University administration demanded that the group leave at 9pm, threatening police involvement if not. When the deadline passed, the group resolved to stay.
After more discussions, however, the occupation now seems to have been brought to an end. Further negotiations are still taking place with university management about the demands to the university: only one of which has been agreed to: "No victimisation of students or staff supporting the occupation in any form".
The group have a Sheffield Hallam Occupation blog with the most up to date information and the group welcome messages of solidarity and support. Messages of support and mutual aid have been received from other occupations in Bradford, SOAS London, Oxford and Nottingham, as well as Sheffield Trades Council, Sheffield NUJ, South Yorkshire UCU, Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Free Gaza and the Sheffield and Rotherham Stop the War Coalitions.
Mainstream coverage: Sheffield Star
Since 9pm on Wednesday a group of students has been occupying a room at the University of Nottingham in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The students have published a list of demands that include that the university of Nottingham cut its financial ties with the arms industry, that 'academic' aid be sent to Gaza, and that there be no repercussions for those involved in the occupation.
Professor Noam Chomsky has sent the students a message of support stating that he was "very pleased to learn about your courageous and honorable actions, particularly significant because of the crucial British contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza... I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these monstrous crimes to an end."
Update 01/02/09: The occupation has been violently evicted by university security. At around 6pm around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were made to wait in the cold whilst they went in one by one to pick up belongings. They were also forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
National Feature: Over a dozen university occupations for Palestine
Newswire: Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Minipodcast from the third night of the occupation at Nottingham Uni | Petition to support Occupation Nottingham | Riseup Radio Report on day one of the Occupation of Nottingham University | Breaking News: Student Occupation at Nottingham University
On Friday the 23rd of January, over 100 Cambridge University students occupied the Law Faculty as a protest against the actions of Israel in Gaza. The action is in solidarity with similar occupations at more than a dozen British Universities across the country, at which students are making demands of their institutions. These include: scholarships for Palestinian students, donation of educational materials to rebuild the Palestinian education system, divestment from the arms trade, and full access of humanitarian aid to Palestine.
The students have started a blog to tell their side of the story, and there is a facebook group and photos on flickr. Incidents have included a "soup war" and a visit from Craig Murray (a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan). Many statements of support can be read on the campaign blog.
Update 29/1/09: The occupation ended today at 11 am.
Students across the country are holding occupations and sit ins in solidarity with Gaza. SOAS shut down a MOD exhibition on their campus whilst students at LSE declared victory after seven days when the university agreed to all of their demands.
They are followed by others at King's College,Essex, Warwick, Sussex , Birmingham and over 80 Oxford University students have occupied the historic Bodleian building to demand that the university releases a statement condemning the attack on Gaza and cancel the lecture series at Balliol College inaugurated by Israeli war criminal Shimon Peres. There are also early reports of occupations at Manchester Met, Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge [Pics], Bradford, Queen Mary, Sheffield Hallam, Nottingham, Strathclyde and Manchester universities. Update Wed 28th: The occupations have started to bring in results as both Sussex and Bradfod students have declared "victory" [See Sussex and Bradford declarations] On the other hand, the Cambridge University occupation is under threat of eviction [more] Update Sun 1st Feb: Nottingham occupation violently evicted [more | video] Update 11th Feb: Golsmiths University and the University of East Anglia are occupied.
In Yorkshire, students have occupied a building at Leeds University whilst the Bradford AGM voted to give the university the weekend to comply with demands to support the Palestinians, or expect action on Monday. On Tuesday morning, around 80 students occupied the university boardroom. The students say they "are enraged and horrified by the unspeakable atrocities that have been committed by the Israeli military on the people of Palestine, and ... will not tolerate the complicity of ... institutions of education in this violence."