In pictures: Leeds students flooded ring road in huge Palestine protest through city centre

Students currently occupying Leeds Uni’s Parkinson Building attended Saturday’s protest after negotiations with the university

Students from Leeds University, who have been occupying the Parkinson Building since last Thursday, were allowed to leave the building to join a city-wide protest on Saturday.

Marching through Leeds city centre, hundreds of student protestors moved through the city in a huge Palestine protest, including crossing a main road.

The demonstration began outside the Parkinson Building, where the occupation is still taking place.

Protestors have been occupying the Parkinson Building at Leeds University since last Thursday (Image via Rachel O’Leary)

Protestors who were assembled held up Palestinian flags and signs and banners reading “Save Gaza”, “Freedom for Palestine” and “Stop the genocide”.

(Image via Rachel O’Leary)

The demonstration progressed from Leeds University campus, going past Leeds Arts University and Leeds Student Medical Practice. Protestors held flags, signs and banners expressing support for Palestine as they moved through the city.

Image via Rachel O’Leary

A large group of protestors then crossed over the ring road and headed down Woodhouse Lane towards the city centre, obscuring the road and bringing traffic to a halt. Stewards in hi-vis jackets were present and moved with the protest as it grew, with police in attendance as it took over the main road.

Image via Rachel O’Leary

The demonstration follows the occupation of the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building, which began on Thursday.

The group of students occupying the building previously claimed that security had tried to stop people from getting in and out of the Parkinson Building by locking the doors on Friday, but that a hundred or more protestors were able to remain inside and occupation. They have since explained that they are indeed able to leave the building via a fire exit, but are not able to re-enter afterwards.

A statement shared by the protestors on Friday read: “Just a few hours ago, the university declared that they would not allow anyone or anything into the building (including food) and would only let people out.

“The students remain steadfast in their dedication to this occupation, and thus the university has committed themselves to starving the students out. Hundreds will gather outside the Parkinson Building tomorrow in solidarity with the students and will march around the city centre, as they usually do every Saturday in solidarity with Palestine – organised by Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“As a widely supported and unrelenting movement, it is imperative that you report on this student occupation and the march tomorrow. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Leeds residents will gather to have their voices heard, and to make sure those of the students inside the Parkinson Building are heard too. As reporters of fair journalism, neglecting to cover this significant event would oppose the values that you are committed to.”

The student coalition later confirmed that negotiations between the student groups and a Leeds University Union (LUU) representative resulted in students being allowed to leave and re-enter the Parkinson Building on Saturday in between the hours of 2pm and 5pm for them to join the city-wide Palestine protest.

They also clarified that the university also agreed to allow food and supplies to be delivered to student occupiers inside the building between “certain hours”, which were confirmed on Sunday to be between 8am and 10am, 12pm and 2pm, and between 5pm and 7pm.

Protestors have demanded that the university responds to their open letter calling for “an end to the university’s complicity in Israeli apartheid”. The uni has reportedly ignored their months-long movement, despite the open letter being signed by hundreds of students and numerous organisations.

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Featured image via Rachel O’Leary