Student protests challenges BAE presence at UCL Engineering Careers Fair

A protest at the UCL Engineering Fair today led by the university’s branch of Amnesty International, left BAE Systems embarrassed after their stall was blocked with banners and placards and leaflets were given out to hundreds of students accusing the firm of torture and murder.

The major defence and aerospace company had a stall in the Jeremy Bentham Room but six students turned up in order to protest at the arms trade and the presence of BAE at UCL.

Ollie Sutherland, Events and Campaigns Officer for Amnesty at UCL stated that their campaign had led to the company feeling “very embarrassed”.

“Our main strategy in the protest was to give out professional looking leaflets, in the style of BAE’s own leaflets, asking students to work for the company but replacing buzz words with terms such as ‘murder’ and ‘torture’ he told The Tab.

“Lots of BAE stall operators thought we were from the company and started asking about internships”.

BAE themselves made no attempt to engage with the protestors, who were allowed to remain in the JBR protesting on the condition that the protest remained peaceful, despite prior expectations that they would be removed by security.

On the contrary Ollie states that some of the stewards were friendly towards the protestors and that many students were as well, despite some being “confused” about the reasons behind the protest.

The protest is the latest in the line of protests, including at Edinburgh University and Bristol  University which, according to Sutherland are being discussed in internal BAE documents due to the company becoming “increasingly concerned”.

UCL Amnesty are hoping to increase awareness amongst the student body by holding their Amnestea event on October 22nd, where they will be discussing the arms trade and how to mobilise against it at university.