Hats off to the demonstrators who are doing Manchester proud, occupied since Wednesday!
- Manchester students called an Emergency General Meeting of their Student Union to take place on February 4th. Students submitted a motion that called for the development of links between students in Manchester and Palestine; a condemnation of Israel’s recent attacks and the facilitation of fundraising to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis Israel has caused in Gaza. This democratic meeting was sabotaged and ultimately destroyed by pro-Israeli Zionist students who were desperate to shield Israel from criticism and couldn’t stomach the thought of their university helping to stop the suffering in Palestine. These students employed both bureaucratic and thuggish tactics to stop the meeting from taking place. There are countless reports from students who wanted to get in but were physically prevented and the chair of the meeting refused to hear students’ complaints at the blockade and dissolved the meeting. Around 300 pro-Palestinian students then held a demonstration that went to the main administrative corridor at the university. Deprived of the means of using the normal channels of speaking to management they decided to occupy the corridor (which holds the Vice Chancellor, Alan Gilbert’s office) until the university management dealt with their demands.
- The movement is growing and the universities are recovering their role as place of critical thinking and action. Today the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff has come out in support of the people of Gaza and the occupying students throughout the country.
- The people of Manchester have been a key part of that support and instrumental in keeping us comfortable and well fed. Yesterday we received fresh fruit, bedding and kitchen equipment amongst a whole host of other supplies kindly donated by individuals and campaigns across Manchester.
- message of solidarity sent from the Student Council of An-Najah university in Palestine:- The Student Council of An-Najah National University extends its sincerest thanks and appreciation for the courageous and principled action you have taken in solidarity with our people in Gaza. This non-violent action to pressure the administration of your university to take a more proactive stance to condemn Israeli aggression on Gaza reminds us, as an oppressed people, that we are not alone in our fight for freedom and justice.
- Article in The Independent!
- Even Wes Streeting, NUS careerist, has woken up- “What we’ve seen over the Gaza issue is a resurgence of a particular type of protest: the occupation. It’s a long time since we’ve seen student occupations on such a scale. It’s about time we got the student movement going again and had an impact.”
- The Manchester Uni occupation applauds Wes for this sentiment. We would be very happy if he came over to address our occupation on the importance of building a fighting student movement for Palestine as well as using his position to push the NUS to put pressure on our Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert to concede to our demands, send a letter to our union’s Gen Sec Rob Pinfold congratulating us for our actions as well as Labour Students in Manchester who have been hostile to us. We would also be very happy if the NUS pledged to campaign to defend occupying students against any reprisals from management.