Oxford councillors speak out in support of pro-Palestine protesters after arrests

Oxford councillors have criticised police reaction to a pro-Palestine protest. <i>(Image: Lucy Williams)</i>
Oxford councillors have criticised police reaction to a pro-Palestine protest. (Image: Lucy Williams)

Multiple Oxford councillors have spoken out after clashes between police and pro-Palestinian groups during university sit-ins this week - offering their support for protesters.

Oxford Community Independents, Councillor Edward Mundy, Councillor Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini and Councillor Barbara Coyne have all expressed their support for the students and staff who have been involved in protests on campus - including those on Thursday, May 23.

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The councillors called the police response to a student sit-in at Wellington Square "hostile", condemning what they called "an appalling response".

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, they said: "The disconnect between the Vice Chancellor's purported commitment to freedom of speech, peaceful protest and compassion and the hostility unleashed on students - to whom the university has a duty of care - is flagrant." 

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In a statement, the councillors said: "As an institution with billions of pounds in assets, Oxford University must answer the demands of its students, faculty and staff to fully divulge investments, and divest from and boycott all institutions and companies complicit in the Israeli genocide, apartheid and occupation.

"We applaud Oxford University students, faculty and community members for their courageous stand against monstrous injustice.

"We call for the end of hostility towards them by the University."

The statement from the councillors called for the university to engage in "good faith" negotiations with Oxford Action for Palestine.

We the Oxford Community Independent Councillors, stand steadfast in solidarity with Palestinians and all @OxAct4Pal supporting their collective struggle for liberation from settler colonialism, military occupation and apartheid. pic.twitter.com/2eAW7DqTZu

— Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini حسنيه جعفرى ماربينى (@HosniehMarbini) May 23, 2024

They continued: "We urge the University to listen to its students, and to heed their demands."

"Our City Council has consistently stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people."

The hostile treatment of peaceful protesters today is shocking and lays bare the hypocrisy of Oxford Uni.
Our Oxford Community Independents group on the City Council stands in solidarity with @OxAct4Pal and with Palestinians facing horrific violence in Gaza and the West Bank. https://t.co/vIuLPbsKsY

— Edward Mundy (@Ed_Mundy_Oxford) May 23, 2024

They said, as the Oxford Community Independent group on the council, that they would continued to stand in solidarity with Oxford Action for Palestine, protesters and campaigners.

"We are proud to be twinned with Ramallah in the West Bank and we voted for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and in support of the democratic right to boycott and divest from Israel."