The University of Manchester Occupation in solidarity with Gaza

Over 150 University of Manchester students have occupied the main university administration building in a demand for a stronger and more proactive position from the university on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The students have proposed a set of demands on the university’s Vice Chancellor Alan Gilbert, including a boycott of Israeli goods on campus, support for a day of fundraising with proceeds to the DEC fund, and that the university end research into manufacturing arms.

Students at other universities have taken similar actions over the last three weeks and have been successful in their demands.

The conflict has killed over 1,300 Palestinians and injured thousands. Tens of thousands of civilians have been left homeless. Head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, John Ging, is now joining international calls for an investigation into the war crimes of the recent action, wherein Israel stands accused of using banned weapons such as white phosphorus and cluster bombs, attacking medical facilities, including the killing of 12 ambulance men in marked vehicles, and killing large numbers of policemen who had no military role.

Over 500 students attended an emergency general meeting of the students union to discuss a motion on the issue of the crisis in Gaza, whereby the students marched on University administration headquarters, the John Owens Building, to draw up a list of demands.

The peaceful occupation is planned to continue for as long as it takes to achieve its demands, and promises to welcome high profile speakers during the week.

DEMANDS (please see photos enclosed)

1) University of Manchester should issue a formal statement condemning Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, acknowledging particularly the effect on educational institutions such as the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University and expressing concern about war crimes allegations.

2) Support a day of fundraising proceeds to DEC

3) All furniture & surplus supplies from building that are being renovated to be sent to Gaza on the Viva Palestina convey ….

4) Stop selling Israeli good on university premises

5) That the university divests from all companies involved at all in the arms trade & end all research with these companies on campus

6) University to publicise DEC advert in any way possible (including banner on the website) and put pressure on the BBC and sky to show the DEC advert.

Further demands are in the process of being formulated.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1) For more information please contact manuni@actionpalestine.org
2) The group have set up a blog with frequent updates at: https://manunioccupation.wordpress.com/
3) Media outlets can contact katan at 07917206282 or 01612 758007

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17 Comments »

  1. one of no borders said

    Hurray, well done!

  2. toasteater said

    Please learn from the mistakes of other occupations; don’t assume that your status as students means you won’t be removed by force.

    Barricades, barricades, barricades! Especially since it sounds like a building primarily used by University admin rather than students!

    Good luck 🙂

  3. Dave said

    Good luck with the occupation! My friends just started one at Strathclyde.

    http://pulsemedia.org/2009/02/04/strathclyde-university-occupied-by-students/

  4. Tobias said

    Excellent work!
    You shall prevail..

  5. mattblackall said

    Good luck! Fully support you.

  6. Geoff Brown, secretary Manchester Trades Union Council said

    Congratulations! End the blockade! Free Palestine!

  7. Sara said

    Good Luck don’t give Gillbert any squirming space!!!!

  8. Mahmoud said

    Well done..
    your news are spreading all over the world.
    keep up the pressure… it is only up to us the active citizens that we can demand and work for change…

    Free Palestine – from the river to the sea
    Mahmoud
    Sussex

  9. leeds occupant said

    Well done comrades.
    Sounds brilliantly organised, demands have also taken improtant lesson from ended occupations!
    Well done, keep up the hard work.
    In Solidarity.

    VIVA PALESTINA

  10. another former leeds occupant said

    Why only man uni students allowed entry?

  11. Ethical consumer said

    I wasn’t aware that the University sells “Israeli good on university premises”. Please publish a list of the University owned establishments that sells “Israeli good”, and exactly what those “good” are, and I will know not to purchase them. Thankyou.

  12. Dan said

    Greetings from Romania! Good job!

  13. Jabri said

    Yes PLEASE list those products, I know that the vegetable and fruit truck just south of campus across from footage sells products from Israel so I no longer go there! Spread the word and much support for the sit in, so proud of my university students!

  14. kay said

    go to http://www.inminds.co.uk for a full list of israeli products..

  15. I think that what you are doing is fantastic, very courageous, and an international inspiration. Students in the UK have become a great spearhead for a growing international movement of academics outraged by our states’ compliance with, or active support for Israeli atrocities.

    Incidentally, given the simultaneous use of the word “occupation” when it comes to oppressive Israeli policies, I believe we should start talking about the liberation of universities, in actions such as yours, securing buildings rather than taking them over. Otherwise you end up using “their” terminology for marginalizing yourselves.

  16. Thanks Kay. The list above makes for astonishing reading, especially given that those brands make up a smaller number of companies. It’s like a tightening noose.

  17. chosenone5376 said

    Solidarity from Rochester, NY! The UK is inspiring the future of US Student activism.

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