Pro-Palestine students occupy Lancaster University vice chancellor’s office

The student protestors have renamed the space ‘the Amin al-Bahri liberated zone’


Protesters involved in the Lancaster University pro-Palestine encampment in Alex Square have occupied the vice chancellor’s office overnight.

They spent the night in the office, which belongs to vice chancellor Andy Schofield, and have re-named the space the “Amin al-Bahri liberated zone”.

A picture the protesters released shows the occupied office, where chairs have been overturned and a sign says “LU blood on your hands.”

In a joint post on their Instagram pages, Demilitarise Lancaster and Palestine Solidarity Campaign Lancaster announced that the office had been “liberated” in the name of Amin al-Bahri, a young dentist who was killed during the Israel-Palestine conflict.

They said that in this protest they “remember him and the thousands of others who have been martyred during Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine for decades.”

The organisations repeated the encampment’s demands in their statement on this occupation, particularly their demand that the university cuts ties with arms manufacturers, such as BAE Systems.

This demand has been attributed to BAE Systems’ manufacturing of F-35 fighter jet components, which the group says are “being sold to Israel just 20 miles from us.”

They also demand that the university “publicly calls for a permanent ceasefire,” that it “fully disclose university-wide assets,” that it make a commitment to investing in education in Gaza and offer scholarships to Palestinian refugees and that it agrees to “take no action against” those involved in the protests.

The organisation added that as Lancaster University students, the protesters felt that it could not “remain passive” about Lancaster University’s “ongoing complicity in this genocide.”

“Over the past eight months,” they said, “Israel’s latest escalated bombardment on Gaza has been live streamed to our phones. Every university in Gaza has been obliterated, most hospitals have been destroyed, and Israel is consistently targeting humanitarian aid including workers and camps.”

The protesters have not said how long they intend the occupation to continue for.

Lancaster University have said in a statement: “Students and staff who have been moved to action by the distressing violence in the Middle East have every right to peaceful, legal protest on campus.

“Since the events of October 7th, we have been in regular contact with the Students’ Union as the formally recognised representatives of the student body and the related student societies concerned about events in the Middle East.

“The university remains committed to upholding the right to freedom of speech for our staff and students and enabling them to peacefully protest within the law, and its own regulations. Universities are places for people to express their views and listen to those of others – including those they do not agree with.

“The university will not tolerate any illegal or unauthorised activity that fundamentally impedes the legitimate business of the university, or risks the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students. The need for our students, staff and visitors on our campus to move around freely and without fear of harassment, and to freely express their views is of paramount importance to us.

“The university continues to operate as normal and we will show no tolerance towards hate speech of any kind.”

On the topic of BAE, the university said: “Our work with BAE Systems underpins a range of activities and deepens our engagement with regional business, enhancing growth and opportunity.  We also support our academics’ freedom to identify and associate with legitimate organisations as part of their research activity and for our students and graduates to make their own informed choices about internships and where they work . This academic freedom is supported by university policy and forms part of our regulatory and legal obligations.

“Our investment policy, entered into through close working with the Students’ Union, works with funds that do not invest in arms companies and the university does not hold any investments in BAE Systems.”

BAE Systems have been contacted for comment.

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Featured image via @noarmslancs and @palestinesolidaritylancs on Instagram.