Students at Durham University occupy Palace Green in solidarity with Palestine

Durham Students for Palestine announced this morning the establishment of the Durham Liberated Zone


Students at Durham University are occupying Palace Green in solidarity with Palestine.

On the morning of 10th May at 06:44am, Durham Students for Palestine announced the establishment of the “Durham Liberated Zone”, on Palace Green in front of the cathedral.

They have declared this “an act of solidarity” with the Palestinian people and a protest against Durham University’s ties to institutions complicit in the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

This comes after eight months of protest, with strikes, demonstrations, educational campaigns to educate people on the ongoing humanitarian crisis and war in Gaza.

The “Durham Students for Palestine” organisation have said that these previous efforts “have been met with silence” from the university.

The Durham Students for Palestine, currently camped out in tents on Palace Green, join students across university campuses nationwide.

The demands the students make from within the Durham liberated zone are as follows:


1.1. Commit to fully divest all University-wide direct and indirect holdings in companies implicated in Israeli genocide, apartheid, and the occupation of Palestine.

1.2. Terminate all banking relations with banks with significant investments in companies that supply weapons and military technology to Israel.


2.1. Immediately end all institutional relationships with Israeli universities, including exchange programs, joint projects, and conference participation.

2.2. Pledge not to establish future institutional relationships with Israeli universities as long as the genocide, apartheid, and occupation continue.


3.1. Publicly condemn the ongoing genocide in Gaza by Israel and the 75-year occupation of Palestine.

3.2. Call for the protection and promotion of Palestinian rights, including their right to self-determination.


Ensure the safety and freedom of speech within the university for all individuals discussing the occupation, safeguarding them from harassment and threats.”

Students for Palestine Encampment

Students for Palestine Camp on the morning of 10 May 2024

A spokesperson for Students for Palestine told the Tab Durham that the group has chosen Palace Green as the site of their encampment for its “symbolic importance” to the university, being in front of the Cathedral, and surrounded by university buildings. They have said they believe “the ball is in the university’s court”, and it is the university’s decision now how and if they choose to respond and engage.

The student group have said they plan to be situated in protest on Palace Green “for as long as it takes” t0 achieve their demands. They are an intersectional group of all faiths and backgrounds. They would also like to stress that they are there out of “compassion and concern for a lack of action” from the university regarding the ongoing crisis in Palestine.

The organisation have told The Durham Tab that their next steps depend on the university’s response are further potential escalation and disruption, stating that blame for further escalation would lie with the university, if it comes to that.

In response to the encampment, a spokesperson for Durham University said: “The university supports and respects the right to lawful protest. We are committed to consistently and robustly upholding freedom of speech within the law, which includes the right of students and staff to protest safely and respectfully.

“We do not tolerate any form of prejudice or discrimination, including antisemitism or anti-Muslim hatred and will take swift action. We condemn in the strongest possible terms any incidents targeting individuals or groups for their religious, political, or cultural beliefs.

“As a university, we express our deepest hope that a way will be found for a peaceful resolution to the conflict as soon as possible. We also hope for the end of violence and the safe return of remaining hostages.”

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