Socialist Worker

Occupation at Essex University in solidarity with Gaza

Issue No. 2134

Essex students march across the campus to make their demands

Essex students march across the campus to make their demands

Sixty students occupied a lecture theatre at Essex University in solidarity with Gaza.

Two hundred strudents attended a rally during a day of action on Essex University campus last Friday. The meeting agreed to put five demands to the university, based on a petition.

The demands were:

  1. the university will issue an official statement condemning the siege on Gaza
  2. It will facilitate a fundraising day for Medical Aid for Palestine
  3. It will provide five scholarships for Palestinian students who can no longer study due to the fact that Gaza university was bombed on 28 December
  4. It will use surplus resources such as old books and computers to help re-build Gaza University
  5. No student shall be victimised for their protest.

Negotiations with university authorities failed and some 60 students forced their way into the Ivor Crewe Hall where they unanimously voted for an occupation.

The students occupied the hall until Monday morning. Daily organisational meetings were attended by more than 40 people at any given time. Over the weekend about 200 students took part in the demonstration at one time or another.

The group are now building for a further week which is dedicated to showing solidarity with the Palestinian people and further mass direct action so to have their demands met. Izzat Shamroukh, a first year student from Bethlehem in Palestine, who had initiated the original petition stated:

'We should use our position as a leading institution in the UK and Europe to help those who are facing suffering and oppression. The injustice committed reaches deeper than the siege. We are calling all students in this country and across the world to take similar actions and do whatever they can show their support for this cause.'

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