Pro-Palestine students disrupt senate meeting and secure discussion with UoL management

Management were escorted into the Sydney Jones library after students occupied the Brett Building


A group of pro-Palestine student activists in Liverpool secured negotiations with vice chancellor Tim Jones and the university’s senior leadership after disrupting a management meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Demonstrators from the University of Liverpool Palestine society and the Students of Alareer Square protest group blocked both the entrance to the Brett Building and the Sydney Jones library foyer in an attempt to speak to the vice chancellor directly.

After 15 minutes of occupation, the university management team agreed to meet with student protestors to discuss the organisation’s demands as they continue to occupy the university’s Abercromby Square.

This comes following the erection of the pro-Palestine encampment on campus over two weeks ago, with student organisers on Abercromby Square since hosting large groups of protesters who continue to condemn the university’s stance on economic funding amid the situation in Gaza.

Footage of the disruption shows students with banners and Palestinian flags chanting “let us in” as they attempt to occupy the University of Liverpool’s Brett Building. In later videos, security staff can be seen creating a barrier within the entrance of the building whilst demonstrators sing a “Free Palestine” tune.

This act of direct disruption is an escalation in comparison to previous attempts to negotiate with the university, which have frequently been met with inaction.

A spokesperson via the Students of Alareer Square Instagram account has since thanked Liverpool staff and students for “enabling us to finally gain a seat at the table”, explaining that the protestors “couldn’t have done it without you”.

They also wrote: “Despite the disturbance, the support from the students was overwhelming and we hope you can understand the necessity of the disruption in order to finally have our voices heard”.

Unofficially renaming the Liberated Zone area “Alareer Square” in honour of professor, poet and activist Refaat Alareer, who was killed in Northern Gaza in 2023, protestors are calling for the university to offer Palestinian scholarships and assist in rebuilding infrastructure, as well as an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and freedom for Palestine.

An Instagram page has also been established in order to share event updates and call for resources and volunteers. Recent posts from the account detail their list of demands, an open message to the vice chancellor requesting the delivery of their demands, and various images of banners hung around university buildings.

Students claim that the occupation of the on-campus site will only cease when protesters’ needs and demands are met by the university, with demonstrators expecting UoL to disclose its investments and confirm that no participants in the encampment suffer detriment to their employment or education.

The Abercromby Square protesters’ act of civil disruption against the UoL management department has become one of many on-campus occupations and demonstrations across the country. On the same day, protesting students at the University of Exeter occupied the Forum building in a similar attempt to force senior management to address their demands and re-arrange a meeting with their university protest group.

University students across the UK also intend on remaining in their respective encampments until discussions are held, and demands are met. This also comes as UCL and University of Cambridge were forced to cancel summer events and graduations due to pro-Palestinian encampments occupying event space on campus.

The University of Liverpool released a statement online, explaining its ethical investment policy which is reviewed on an annual basis and how the institution is exploring Palestine-specific scholarships and partnerships, for when the conflict ends. The statement also outlined the devastation and loss of life as a result of the conflict in Israel and Gaza as “utter horror”.

More information about the Liverpool encampment can be found via Instagram: @lvrpool_enc, @livleftaction and @livpalestine.

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Featured image via @lvrpool_enc on Instagram