University building occupied as Gaza protests spread to campus

By Marcus Dysch, November 22, 2012

Protests have taken place on university campuses across Britain in response to the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

At the School of Oriental and African Studies in central London, the students’ union AGM voted in support of a motion pledging solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Students also occupied part of the Soas building on Monday and demanded that the SOAS director “condemn the unjustifiable comments made by Foreign Secretary William Hague that Hamas are principally at fault for the current violence”.

A Soas spokeswoman said the school “takes seriously the safety and security of all our students and staff and we will continue to monitor the situation.

“We do not accept any occupation of our buildings and will continue to liaise with the students’ union to resolve this matter”.

But the school did not say what plans it had to remove or discipline those who had occupied buildings.

Jewish students organised counter-demonstrations on a number of campuses, including in Oxford and Leeds.

UJS campaigns director Judith Flacks said the action on campuses was of “grave concern. Occupations and stunts of this nature only serve to alienate fellow students and disrupt education at universities”.

Last updated: 3:45pm, November 22 2012