UK Students Protest Amid Gaza Events: A Global Movement for Palestine

Thousands of students across Britain have joined the global student-led protests against Israel’s latest and deadliest war on the Gaza Strip. The UK is in the midst of a student protest movement for Palestine demanding an end to university ties to Israel. UK students protest amid Gaza events in another form. Universities are respecting the protest. However, the black, white, and green Palestinian flag represented a sense of global action in support of Gaza.

UK students protest amid Gaza events after US arrests.

 Violent scenes from Columbia University, UCLA, and dozens of other US campuses have triggered renewed anger among UK students. Columbia University has received much of the spotlight. The students urge the university to divest from companies linked to Israel, which has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians. However, police have violently arrested hundreds of students in a crackdown.

The same protests are taking place at universities in the UK in response to the ongoing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. A student encampment has been ongoing at Colombia University. Demonstrations were planned at least six universities on Wednesday, such as Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds, and Newcastle. One UK student said: “The courage that those students have shown faced with extreme violence from the police. It’s like a call that needs to be answered and picked up worldwide.”

UK students protest amid Gaza events in different shapes 

The US and UK student movements operate by different logic and strategies in response to different economic and political contexts. Protests at UK universities have generally been peaceful. Many students were willing to camp indefinitely in tents outside the student union.

UK students have also organized teach-ins, teach-outs, local rallies, and national demonstrations in London. On Wednesday, students at five elite UK universities set up pro-Palestinian encampments.

No police in the UK: students are free to protest

Patrick Hackett, Manchester University’s chief operating officer, said the university recognized the right of students and staff to protest within the law. UEA’s Maguire said, “Students have the opportunity, if they so wish, to protest about any issue. And I think we’ve got to remember that these events have been completely cataclysmic for many students.”

It remains rare for the police to be called to student protests in the UK, though it does happen, says Heron. However, there was no visible police presence at the Oxford protest. “We respect our students’ and staff members’ right to freedom of peaceful demonstrations,” the Oxford University spokesperson said. The British students say their rallies are quiet, and many Jewish undergraduates and scholars join them.

Light colour tents and Palestine’s flag: a different protest amid Gaza events

UK students protest amid Gaza events, bright tents, and a sombre mood. On a cloudy May 6, students set up pro-Palestinian protest encampments on Oxford and Cambridge universities’ historic grounds in Britain. By early morning, they had erected brightly coloured tents on the lawns outside the relatively dull Oxford University Museum.

“Why we’re doing this style of protest now is that solidarity is so important in every movement,” an Oxford student said. Standing before the camps, some bore the black, white and green Palestinian flag. The students said they were joining 100 universities across the world to protest Israel’s war in Gaza.

Protests amid Gaza events: a unique globalized movement

Student and staff uprisings demand a change in UK government foreign policy amid Israel’s devastating war on Gaza. Moreover, the globalized aspect of the movement makes it somewhat unique. Over the past six months, the protests supporting Palestine have seen vast numbers of people. They included hundreds of thousands who marched in London on November 11.

At Trinity College Dublin, students have set up tents decked out with Palestinian flags and banners. Their messages include “Israel is a terrorist state,” “End the genocide,” “From the river to the sea,” and “Free Palestine.”  The number of protesters is increasing around the world.

UK students protest amid Gaza events: cut ties with Israel’s war efforts

The students are calling for their university to cut ties with companies that are contributing to Israel’s war efforts. “My university has millions of pounds in partnerships with companies that arm Israel. It is not complicated to think that an institution’s complicity in violent, ethnic cleansing and genocide is bad,” said Eugenia.

The UK universities are to change their policy

UK students protest amid Gaza events and discuss universities in Gaza. They believe their education is built upon the ashes of Gaza universities. “There are no universities left in Gaza, partly because of the financial activities of UK universities. Our campuses thrive on the destruction of Gaza’s higher education sector. Our buildings rise from their rubble.”

The UK students’ protests amid Gaza events have made the universities change their policies. For example, action led by the Goldsmiths for Palestine group has resulted in scholarships for Palestinian students. The universities also committed to an ethical investment policy.

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