Leeds students occupying Parkinson building claim the university rescinded its offer to meet

The occupiers also claim that security closed the building ‘four hours before the agreed time’

Students currently occupying the Parkinson Building in protest for Palestine have claimed that the University of Leeds has rescinded its offer to meet with protestors.

Those inside the building claim that the university has broken an agreement and is “immediately closing the building four hours before the agreed time”.

An Instagram Story shared by Leeds Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS) has suggested that this is due to an open day organised at the university tomorrow. 

Pro-Palestinian students occupied Parkinson Court yesterday, demanding to meet with management and calling for the University of Leeds to condemn Israeli genocide, create a safe space for people to protest and ban war criminals from its campus.

Led by Leeds Socialist Worker Student Society (SWSS), Student Rebellion Leeds and University of Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG), student protestors gathered outside of the Parkinson Building yesterday afternoon before entering at around 2pm.

The group set up tents and erected a banner on the first floor railings that overlook the main concourse reading “Arms off campus”. Sitting among tents and placards, students shared chants of “Our university is complicit”, “Ceasefire now”, “Israel is a terror state”, “Free, free Palestine” were shared among students.

The students told the university yesterday that they will continue to occupy the building until an official from the University of Leeds meets with them for discussion.

This afternoon, a protestor currently occupying Parkinson Court claimed that the University of Leeds has failed to uphold their agreement and is instead “closing the building four hours before the agreed upon time”. The anonymous protestor also claimed that these changes were made with “zero notice”.

Leeds Socialist Worker Student Society shared an announcement on Instagram where it suggested that the university’s actions are motivated by an open day the university is set to host tomorrow. The post read: “The university management are trying to kick us out of our occupation so their open day on Saturday can go ahead.”

The society then called for students to support the occupation by gathering at Parkinson Steps at 5:30pm today. Tagging Leeds Palestinian Student Group, West Yorkshire for Palestine and Leeds Beckett University Palestine Society, it wrote: “Everyone come to the emergency rally at 5:30pm today at Parkinson Steps. It’s really important that we have as many people as possible to make sure the uni can’t remove us.”

via Instagram @swssleeds

Sharing a video on their Instagram Story, a student spoke to occupiers through a microphone, describing university security’s actions as being “absolutely disgusting behaviour.”

Speaking to fellow occupiers, he said: “Are we going to be intimidated by bullshit from this institution? Are we gonna stay here and occupy for as long as it takes for this university to give in to our demands? Let it be known management agreed to meet with us and they have since rescinded their offer, the absolute cowards.”

Speaking about management at the University of Leeds, the student said: “They’re afraid of the power of this movement because now, four universities in this country just today have started occupations of their own. This movement continues to grow in the face of any opposition thats put in front of it. We will not stop until Palestine is free.”