By Thomas Foster
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2914

Soas pro-Palestine students face threats from management and cops

Plus: Palestine solidarity campaigners in Hackney, east London, defend themselves from Zionists 
Issue 2914
a picture of seven students in front of a police station illustrating a story about Soas student encampment

The seven Soas students after their release (Picture: Soas Liberated Zone)

Soas university in central London is on the verge of expelling a student for his pro-Palestine campaigning.

And on top of this, the police arrested seven students at the encampment on Monday night, after the activists defended themselves from a Zionist attack

The university has set a disciplinary hearing for Abel Harive-Clark that will confirm or drop the expulsion for Thursday.

Abel, who is a member of the Soas student encampment for Gaza, said, “I have been targeted for my political activism by Adam Habib, the vice chancellor at Soas.

He added, “Adam Habib’s complaint against me alleges harassment and abuse. This is a pathetic attempt to silence the many voices who have chanted his name and named him as accountable for Soas’s support for the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

“This is despite, or actually because, I am due to take office as a full time elected officer in the students union.”

Abel has recently been elected as the student union officer for democracy and education. The university is also trying to charge Abel with “operation obstruction”. He distributed flyers with the demands of the student encampment to members of the board of trustees as they attended a meeting in May.

Security guards prevented Abel from doing so, pushing him to the ground and dragging him away. But the university is now trying to use a brief CCTV clip to claim that Abel assaulted a security guard.

Abel said in response to this, “When the full CCTV footage is released, it will show how private security, hired by Soas, racially targeted and attacked protesters. The allegations against me are because I sought to prevent fellow protesters being physically beaten by those private security.”

The university’s allegations are aiming to single out Abel, as all actions could be applied to countless other students. Management is trying to make an example out of Abel, as someone who has been unwilling to accept attempts at intimidation.

Abel also argued that the university management is seeking “to undermine student democracy and deny students the chance to choose their elected representatives”.

But the university’s intimidation tactics aren’t new. Soas suspended Abel and three others in October for organising and attending a pro-Palestine solidarity rally outside the university building on 9 October. But Abel returned to campus in 2024 and won his election for the student union on a platform of student democracy, the right to protest and Palestinian liberation.

So far university management has given ten students disciplinary notices, while four others are under formal investigation. A statement from the Soas encampment said, “We will not allow Soas to wrongfully target a student and continue its repressive tactics.

“Nor will we be intimidated as we continue to escalate until… our demands are met and until the expulsion against Abel is dropped.”

Abel was defiant against the charges, saying, “Neither I, nor our movement will be intimidated. Our commitment is to Palestinian liberation, to end the genocide and to see a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”


Hackney campaigners defend themselves from Zionists 

Around 200 Gaza campaigners faced down 30 pro-Israel supporters outside Hackney Town Hall, east London, on Tuesday night.

The Zionists had turned up to disrupt a lobby of the council pensions committee.

Labour-run Hackney council has millions invested in Israel through its pension fund. It is also twinned with the Israeli city of Haifa.

The lobby was supported by Hackney council workers’ Unison union branch and by Hackney NEU education union branch. Both unions represent workers whose pensions are invested in Israel and who want those investments withdrawn.

Hackney council’s Labour group has prevaricated over disinvestment for months.

Dave Davies, Hackney NEU secretary, said, “The council have been given a chance to end their complicity in genocide. Now we are going to take the fight to them. Palestine will be free.”

Mike Simons

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