UK students attempt to copy the US with small campus encampments

Two weeks after Columbia University’s student encampment began, students in UK attempt to recreate the demonstration


Seven students at Bristol University have set up a Gaza Solidarity Encampment after the one initiated by students at Columbia University. (Photo: Epigram via X)

A handful of students at the University of Bristol have set up a pro-Palestine encampment on campus this morning to protest “the university’s complicity in Israel’s genocide.”

Inspired by the mass encampments rocking universities across the US, a small contingent of student activists associated with the Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign set up their tents and signs in the Royal Fort Gardens at 4am on Wednesday, according to the University of Bristol’s student newspaper Epigram.

As of 9am, the paper reported that seven students are camped out as part of the protest.

According to a post on X, protesters with Newcastle Apartheid Off Campus, a student-led coalition at Newcastle University, have also set up an encampment on their school’s main campus to “highlight the institution’s investment strategy and its complicity in the Israeli military’s war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Both encampments are calling for their universities to divest from companies supplying arms to Israel, in line with the demands made by student protesters at Columbia University in New York where a mass anti-Israel encampment has been gradually escalating campus tensions for two weeks.

The UK protests are significantly smaller than their US counterparts, with only a handful of tents at each.

As of Wednesday, Columbia has vowed to begin suspending students after protesters occupied, vandalised and barricaded the entrances to a building on campus Tuesday night, where police officers in riot gear arrested dozens of demonstrators.

According to a tally by the New York Times, over 1,000 protesters have been taken into custody on US campuses since the protests began on 17 April.

Similar demonstrations took place at universities across the country, including Brown University in Rhode Island, the University of Texas in Austin, the University of Southern California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and numerous others.

President Joe Biden’s Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement released on Tuesday: “President Biden respects the right to free expression, but protests must be peaceful and lawful. Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful—it is wrong,”

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