Student Sit-in At The University Of Manchester Goes Into Third Day As University Bosses Refuse To Accept Students’ Demands: Demonstration Called For 2pm Friday

On Wednesday 4th Feb over 150 University of Manchester students peace fully occupied the main University administration building demanding a stronger, more proactive position from the University on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The student presence in the John Owens building continues, with the central University post room now under student control. A demonstration in support of the Sit-in has been called at 2pm today to rally additional support.

In his two meetings with the peaceful protesters, the Vice Chancellor, Alan GIlbert, has so far refused to positively address the students’ demands. His tactics have been based on avoiding to engage concretely with the students’ demands, unilaterally deeming the protest inappropriate. This reaction has been percieved as authoritarian causing further mobilisation on campus.

Students have shown continuous interest in negotiating with the University authorities and the police. But the University management has now severely restricted access to the John Owens building, preventing food and supplies from being delivered to the protesters in an attempt to deny protesters’ rights to assembly and freedom of expression as stated in the Human Rights Act. As part of the Management’s food blockade of the premises occupied by students, the Student Services Centre has been shut down, an action which has been strongly criticised by the student protesters.

An alternative day of learning on Thursday 5th Feb saw a wide range of lectures and workshops run by academics and representatives from several unions and other organisations. There was high attendance throughout the day, invigorating the movement and adding numbers to the Sit-in. A committed group of students has stated their willingness to remain in the building for as long as necessary to achieve their aims. One of the protesting students said, “I don’t think it is intelligent for the Vice Chancellor to concentrate on spending money on security, instead of engaging with us and our demands”



  1. University Underling said

    I would like to point out that “peacefully” is not 100% true. Two members of the protest were both verbally and physically aggressive towards staff attempting to leave the building, including shoving female members of staff back through doorways.

    However, most of the other members of the protest were charming, articulate and polite young people, and behaved wnderfully.

    • manunioccupation said

      We regret any form of verbal or physical aggression that could have resulted in someone being treated in a inadequate way during the protest. If, as noted above, two people on the protest acted badly it’s a real shame but should not be taken as the attitude of hundreds more on the march. As also noted above, the vast majority of the group are “charming, articulate and polite young people, and behaved wonderfully”.

  2. Photograph of the banners and flags at the occupation here

    Manchester student sit-in at University building supporting Gaza residents

  3. Mitch Hoolihan said

    I consider myself an impartial observer on the events that have taken place within the University. I am not unbiased with regard to the ongoing plight of the people of Gaza and I indeed support their cause so therefore I agree with some of the objections that the Gaza protest sit-in group would attempt to highlight. However, I do not agree that any kind of unauthorized occupation of a private building is a peaceful endeavour.

    I see this more as a petulant, subversive and bullying attack on an institution that has provided excellent standards of care towards the student body in every possible way. If the students are as articulate and polite as they are said to be, then why have they not managed to form a meaningful dialogue with the school without causing a disruption to the very establishment which serves them so well?

    Your demands, some of them reasonable, others, in my opinion, decidedly puerile and inappropriate, do not need to be stated as such. Why was it not possible to put your individual points across as opportunities for discussion? I believe you know the answer to this to be for dramatic effect to take hold in order to increase the coverage of such insolent and unworthy behaviour.

    You have a discussion in which to participate… not a protest… you have an opportunity in this University… not a threat. One should not attempt to correct a misdoing by enacting the same process upon those who harmed you and so, if you feel you have a grievance with the University, why not sit down and talk to them? The process of retaliating or escalating makes you no better than those you wish to accuse of wrongdoing. In an environment such as Manchester University, I would have assumed this would be immediately obvious and that proper discussion and thought would have been the most moderate and intellectual route to pursue.

    This is just my opinion and bears no reflection to my relationship with the University. Thank you for your time in reading this.

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