LSE becomes first UK uni to evict pro-Palestine encampment after over a month of occupation

Student protestors were evicted from the Marshall Building yesterday

Students engaged in a pro-Palestine encampment on LSE campus have been evicted after legal action by the university.

The occupation in the Marshall Building had been in place since May 14th, with students holding regular protests, living in tents and making signs and posters.

A final rally was held on Monday as students dismantled their encampment before the deadline in the court order, Evening Standard reports.

The encampment was set up last month after a report by the LSE Palestine Society claimed that the university had invested £89 million in companies linked to the conflict in Gaza, fossil fuels and the arms industry.

Students at the encampment had demanded divestment as well as a voice in the financial decision making of the university.

After being granted an interim possession order (IPO) by the civil court on Friday, LSE went forward with legal action after “exhausting all other options”.

Protestors chanted and cheered as students dismantled the encampment on LSE campus.

Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was present at Monday’s rally in support of students. Speaking through a megaphone at crowds, he engaged with protestors and and thanked them for their “practical demonstration of solidarity”, as well as for being “on the right side of history.”

A spokesperson for the encampment told the Middle East Eye: “The LSE intends to crush our resolve and power, but they cannot engage with us legitimately on ethical or political grounds,

“Narrative is our power, and the narrative is on our side now and until Palestine is free.

“Eviction will not end our movement; it has only empowered us further. We will not stop. We will not rest until LSE divests.”

Although the pro-Palestine encampment at LSE is the first to have been dissolved due following legal action, Queen Mary and Birmingham University are also among those seeking legal advice to disperse their encampments on campus grounds.

An LSE spokesperson said: “On Friday 14 June the civil court granted LSE an interim possession order (IPO) to end the unauthorised occupation of the Marshall Building. This was applied for following careful consideration, including in relation to the safety of the protestors. This decision was taken after exhausting all other options.  In accordance with the IPO, all protesters had until 4pm yesterday to vacate the Atrium, Marshall Building. They have now vacated and the building has been reopened to the School.

“LSE received two independent assessments outlining a significant fire risk posed by the unauthorised encampment in the Marshall Building. This included a significant risk to the protestors themselves as well as the building – which is currently closed from floor one and upwards.  As long as the encampment has remained in place, in any form, LSE has not been able to reopen the building safely.

“The assessments were shared with the protestors along with repeated requests to vacate the space or at least, for their own safety, implement the required actions outlined. No action was taken by the protestors.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• New encampments spring up at LSE and Queen Mary as Palestine protests spread across London

• UCL students set up encampment on campus in solidarity with Palestine

• Pregnant UCL alumna in Gaza sets up GoFundMe in order to evacuate and give birth safely

Featured image via X @lslothuus