UCL students set up encampment on campus in solidarity with Palestine

Tents were pitched last night, with students intending to stay until their demands are met


Students protesting for Palestine have set up an encampment on University College London campus.

Tents and gazebos were erected on Thursday night, with students’ claiming they will remain in situ until the university divests from companies they declare to be “complicit in genocide”.

This comes after encampments began at universities across the UK including Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Warwick and Newcastle.

Creating a list of demands, protestors have called on UCL to withdraw financial support to companies which are involved in the situation between Israel and Gaza.

via Instagram @abdullahbaileyphoto

Students currently camping on university grounds have called UCL  a “disgrace” for its stance on the war in Gaza, whilst others chanted “In our hundreds, in our millions we are all Palestinian.”

Joe*, a 20-year-old student in his first year of university told The Telegraph that the group’s actions were inspired from students across the world, notably in America where encampments have been underway throughout recent weeks.

He said: “We are following in the footsteps of students around the world in asking for our university to divest the millions of pounds it has in companies that supply arms to Israel.

“It’s disgraceful that the university is invested in these companies.”

Around 10 students camped overnight last night, with around 30 activists arriving to protest throughout today.

via Instagram @abdullahbaileyphoto

Outlining the student group’s demands, Joe said: “We have three demands of our university. The first is that we are asking the university not to pick sides. They shouldn’t pick sides and shouldn’t be investing in Israel.

“Secondly, we are asking the university to condemn the active genocide taking place just just like it has condemned all previous genocides including the apartheid in South Africa.

“And thirdly we are asking the university to re-establish the educational system in Gaza. That’s it. These are our demands.”

Calls for aid have been made by protestors, with students asking the public to donate “nutritious and healthy” food to their group.

Junayd Islam, a 20-year-old third year student at the university, who is acting as the spokesman for the university’s activists, said: “We are open for donations. If people can donate sanitary things, torches and food – anything healthy and nutritious. Some people have already given us food and other things.”

He added that the recent weather has not deterred himself and the rest of the group. He said: “I’m a little bit cold and wet and I know going through that pain brings me a little bit closer to what is going on in Palestine.”

A Metropolitan Police Territorial Support Group van arrived at UCL at around midday today, where three uniformed officers entered the university campus. Officers briefly assessed the encampment before leaving the grounds.

A UCL spokesperson said: “Like many other universities, a small protest with tents is taking place in our quad. We are speaking with the organisers and carefully monitoring the situation.

“We will manage this in line with our legal duty and commitment to promote freedom of speech within the law, whilst ensuring the safety and security of our community and enabling our education and research activity to continue.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• A (brief) guide to the best and the worst of London student nightlife

• Here’s which Taylor Swift album your London university is, based on pure vibes

• Apparently all London universities have mottos and some of them are… questionable

Featured image via @abdullahbaileyphoto

*Names changed for anonymity