Leeds students occupied Leeds train station in protest of Israel’s operations in Rafah

Demonstrators gathered in the train station’s main concourse on Monday evening

Leeds students launched an occupation at Leeds Train Station on Monday in protest of Israel’s military operations in Rafah.

The occupation occurred in the main concourse of the city’s train station.

Led by Leeds Students Against Apartheid Coalition, in collaboration with Leeds Palestine Solidary Campaign, Yorkshire Palestine Collective and Bradford Friends of Palestine, the occupation protested “Israel’s invasion of Rafah.”

Demonstrators gathered at the student encampment opposite Leeds University Union

Earlier in the evening, protestors gathered at the student encampment outside Leeds University Union, holding signs reading “All eyes on Rafah” and “Free Palestine.”

Protestors held signs reading ‘All eyes on Rafah’

The crowd then proceeded past Parkinson Building and down Blenheim Terrace, towards the city centre.

The march passed Parkinson Building

Upon reaching Leeds Train Station, demonstrators staged a sit-in under police observation.

The march then entered Leeds Train Station

In a statement shared to Instagram, the coalition criticised the actions of the Israeli military: “In the past 48 hours, the Israeli Occupation Force has already killed over 40 Palestinians, many children, in its latest airstrike against refugee camps in Rafah.

“Despite the recent ruling by the Internal Court of Justice, demanding Israel stop its brutal genocide upon the Palestinians, asking the occupying state to stop its siege on Rafah – the settler colonial state of Israel began bombing refugee camps last night.

“Images of the devastation in Gaza have been flooding the internet, standing testament to how the world has failed the Palestinians.”

Demonstrators occupied the main concourse of Leeds Train Station under police observation

The coalition also called on the University of Leeds to cut all ties with Israel: “The University of Leeds has remained complicit in the genocide and apartheid of the Palestinians.

“While we are able to enjoy the safety and freedom of everyday life within the UK, Palestinians are not granted this basic human right.

“It is therefore imperative that we put pressure on the governments and institutions that enable Israel’s repeated breaches of international law.

“The people united will never be defeated, and we urge you to stand with us, the students and people of Leeds.”

University of Leeds and the Israeli embassy in London have been approached for comment.

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Featured image via Rachel O’Leary