Pro-Palestinian campaigners agree to end occupation of Warwick University building after 13 days

Warwick Stands with Palestine has been campaigning for Warwick University to meet their four demands for 9 months.
-Credit: (Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Campaigners at the University of Warwick ended their 13-day-long occupation of Warwick Manufacturing Group's (WMG) International Digital Laboratory after administrators agreed to enter into negotiations regarding demands for divestment from Israel.

Organisers of Pro-Palestinian group Warwick Stands With Palestine previously took over the building by 'barricading' the entrance and exits. The group claims to have had 'consistent refusals' to renegotiate from university management for 60 days and 9 months of campaigning prior.

They also claim the reversal comes as a 'victory indicative' of the strength of their 'sustained pressure campaign' and the 'determination of the student movement' at Warwick to 'fight for justice'. A spokesperson has said the university is "seeking to enter dialogue with Warwick Stands With Palestine".

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One student part of the cross-campus coalition, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "For the last 13 days our occupation halted business-as-usual for WMG, a department heavily complicit in Israel's ongoing genocide of Gaza due to their academic and research partnerships with weapons manufacturers who supply Israel's criminal army.

"In putting 300 office desks out of service for two full working weeks, and disrupting other WMG buildings through frequent protests, we struck at the heart of militarism on campus."

Another occupier added: "It is absurd that we have had to go to such lengths to establish a line of communication, but we are happy to finally be entering into this dialogue. This occupation is a clear demonstration that creating pressure through direct action is an effective tool in forcing institutional change."

In a statement on X, Warwick Stands With Palestine today (July 1) wrote: "Holding down such a large and important building for 2 weeks is a remarkable achievement, and demonstrates the strength and determination of the student movement at Warwick and beyond to fight for justice.

"Our occupation and subsequent victory was the culmination of a year of mounting pressure from students and staff and guides us with hope and determination onwards.

"Our coalition has not been deterred by the University's prolonged refusal to engage with us; although it has taken 9 months of campaigning, 60 days of encampment, and 13 days of occupation, we are more determined than ever to achieve all of our demands in their entirety."

Warwick Stands With Palestine also states if negotiations falter, the group are prepared to use 'similar protest tactics' to ensure their four demands are met: to condemn, pledge, divest, and protect.

This includes condemning the Israeli government's actions, pledging to protect Palestinian students on campus, protecting students who are protesting to have the right to 'freedom of speech', rebuilding Palestinian universities, and offering scholarships.

According to the health ministry of the Hamas-run territory, 37,877 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll stands at around 1,139. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 553 people have been killed in the occupied West Bank, including 137 children.

In addition, the BBC has reported that an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in Rafah, which led to the rescue of four hostages, killed 274 people, including children and other civilians. The BBC also reported that 125 Israeli civilian hostages who were taken in the October 7 attack remain unaccounted for, at least 37 of these are presumed dead.

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