By Isabel Ringrose
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Students occupy for Palestine at London’s UCL university

It comes after students launch occupations at Goldsmiths, Leeds and Bristol
Issue 2896
A picture of two people holding up an apartheid free zone banner, illustrating a story about the UCL occupation for Palestine

UCL students occupy the Jeremy Bentham Room

Students at UCL university in central London started an occupation on Wednesday to demand action over Palestine. The students are occupying the Jeremy Bentham rooms and declared it an “apartheid free zone”.

“This is a space in which to educate about the struggle of the Palestinian people and from which to pressure management to end UCL’s complicity in genocide,” UCL Action for Palestine said in a statement.

“UCL has extensive collaborations with arms companies supplying the Israeli occupation. There will be no class as usual in a complicit university.”

The students are demanding that UCL cuts all ties with companies on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) list, has full transparency over its relationships with arms and fossil fuel companies. They also want ring-fenced funding for scholarships for Palestinian students, call for a ceasefire and the end of censorship of activity around Palestine on campus.

From the occupation student Rayan told Socialist Worker, “We has a teach-in and used it to organise activity on campus. The occupation was planned, but it was a surprise for some.

“We moved to this room for the occupation as it’s in the main building.”

UCL Action for Palestine called the action off the back of other student occupations in Goldsmiths in south London, and Leeds. “We wanted to escalate that action,” Rayan explained.

“There’s around 35 of us here but not everyone will stay. We are planning to expand to get as many people in here as possible.”

Rayan said the energy is “really exciting”. “We’ve been chanting to get spirits up,” they said. “There was a bit of fear from people in the beginning. But when we started chanting and discussing it more, it was clear that people wanted to do this—and we didn’t hold back.”

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