Student Gaza encampments and protests continue in Britain

Protest in Sheffield against war on Gaza. Photo: Sheffield SP

Queen Mary: ‘We won’t pack up and give up!’

QMUL student, Tower Hamlets Socialist Party

As we go into another week of the Queen Mary University student encampment for Palestine, East London, it’s becoming clear that university management has no respect for the will and demands, its students and staff. The university has refused to meet with us even after statements of support from the UCU, Unison and many other local trade unions. However, this has not deterred us; numbers at the encampment have only grown since week one and students are determined to stay until the university meets us and agrees to our demands.

Management have gone out of their way to try and villainize the campers to the rest of the student body. Since the start, they have been sending out emails claiming that the encampment is a risk to health and safety.

However, these slandering and insulting emails did violate the safety of protesters. Just a few days after the university sent them, two students came onto the encampment and physically assaulted some of the campers, spraying urine across the camp. Campus security, many of whom were hired specifically because of this encampment, saw this and did nothing.

University management followed up the attack with yet another email, again villainizing the encampment and implying it was the student protesters’ fault for setting up a camp in the first place!

The local community and trade unions are firmly on our side. This camp, and the entire movement for Palestinian liberation, won’t just go away. We are determined and passionate about this struggle and can see that all our struggles are connected; we will not simply pack up and give up!

Sheffield rallies in defiance

Sheffield Socialist Students member

It’s early morning on Monday 3 June, and the University of Sheffield (UoS) is keen to have the place nice and presentable for a wave of new potential ‘customers’ on open day. At the pro-Palestine encampment, now in its fifth week, a worker hurriedly tries to clean off a slogan written in chalk on the wall – about the complicity of UoS vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts in war, but you’d need much more than a wet sponge to wash off the stain of these crimes!

The UoS has made at least £72 million from the arms trade since 2012-13, receiving investment from companies including BAE Systems, GKN and Boeing.

After over a month of struggle, the encampment of over 50 tents has received a contemptible open letter from UoS, demanding that we disband before the lucrative open day tours start. Naturally, we responded by escalating – calling an emergency rally.

What followed was one of the largest campus demonstrations I have seen: a vibrant mixture of chants, a daring operation to cover the uni’s flagship building with banners and paint, and even some theatrics. On what they’d hoped would be a day to celebrate, Lamberts was nowhere to be found.

The message the Sheffield encampment has sent to the UoS, and to the rest of the world, is clear: despite all the predictions of naysayers, the movement for Palestinian liberation is here to stay, and Monday’s demonstration has swelled the encampment ranks. There is a sense that  change must be fought for – change to the entire capitalist system that breeds conflict and war. The message from the Sheffield students: “All those who chose to profiteer while Gazan blood is flowing: Get going, your Villainy is showing!”

Leeds: We need a socialist voice in general election

Louie Fulton, TUSC candidate for Leeds Central and Headingley in the general election

While campaigning in the upcoming general election, we stopped by the encampment at University of Leeds. While talking to representatives of the camp, they were clear that they do not support the Labour Party due to the failure to vote for a ceasefire in November. They advocated voters look to other parties outside of the main two.

We discussed pro-Palestine independents. The protesters were supportive of any candidate that supports the Palestinian cause but agreed that there is a need for a socialist voice to speak up for workers in Britain, as well as internationally.

Emergency Rafah Downing Street demo

Rose Kwiecinska, East London Socialist Party

More than 10,000 people gathered outside Downing Street on 28 May for an emergency protest, after Israel carried out a horrendous attack on Rafah, bombing a refugee camp and killing at least 50 civilians.

This was despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling demanding an end to the Israeli state offensive.

What happened in Rafah has, once again, brought people to the streets. It was one of the biggest emergency protests, despite the fact that we have been consistently protesting for eight months. We sold a lot of copies of the Socialist and handed out all of the placards we brought. People are still ready to fight.

The Tory government is still providing support for the ongoing genocide. Labour is failing to put up any real opposition. The White House says that the Israeli military attacks still do not cross Biden’s ‘red line’ announced just weeks ago.

There is no trust in capitalist politicians. They won’t stand for Palestinians. In the election we need anti-war, anti-cuts and pro-worker candidates. That’s why Socialist Party is standing as a part of TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition).

We need to build mass parties of the working class in Britain, and internationally too, including in Palestine and Israel.

Special financial appeal to all readers of

Support building alternative socialist media provides a unique analysis and perspective of world events. also plays a crucial role in building the struggle for socialism across all continents. Capitalism has failed! Assist us to build the fight-back and prepare for the stormy period of class struggles ahead.
Please make a donation to help us reach more readers and to widen our socialist campaigning work across the world.

Donate via Paypal

Liked this article? We need your support to improve our work. Please become a Patron! and support our work
Become a patron at Patreon!
June 2024