Pro-Palestinian protesters at University of Birmingham 'threatened with police action'

Pro-Palestinian protesters in 40 tents set up at the University of Birmingham claim they have been 'threatened with police action.' The group say they have been told that what they are doing 'might be considered criminal' after setting up an encampment today, Monday, May 13.

The protesters vowed to stay put on the Edgbaston campus despite allegedly being warned they could face legal action if they do not stop. Scores of students from other universities have also been staging demonstrations across the UK.

It follows similar camps opposed to Israeli action in Gaza appearing in America. But it is thought that Birmingham students are the first to be "threatened with legal action." Protesters said they believed they had not broken any rules despite facing possible arrest over aggravated trespassing.

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One student, who would only give her name as 'Robin', said: "We are a peaceful camp and we are not disrupting other students, so we will stay put. When we set up we were told by security what we were doing might be considered criminal and lets just say, they made sure we knew that.

"But there has been no sign of his threat being enforced so far. We have around 40 tents now so I don't think they could break us up as there's so many of us. There has only been one flash-point here involving somebody who said they were staff going around and taking down signs, but security were swiftly on top of that. There's a genocide going on and I could not just sit back and let that happen. We are just being asked to be treated with fairness."

A protest encampment at the University of Birmingham in support of Palestine -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live
A protest encampment at the University of Birmingham in support of Palestine -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

Another student, who would only give her name as 'JJ', said: "We haven't been threatened with aggravated trespassing as of yet. We have had a letter that has been given to us and members of the public to say that they should clear the encampment.

"This is our campus and we intend to be here peacefully and legally and so we've had no communication about any trespassing.
We are here for several reasons. We want it disclosed to us, where is our money going? Also to terminate research partnerships with Israeli universities who are complicit in the genocide.

"As an academic institution we should uphold principles that we learn about like decolonisation and learning from the past and critiquing ethnic cleansing. Yet we are championing and having research partnerships with universities in the genocidal state so we want that to be terminated.

"We want our rights to peaceful protests protected. We are an accessible and inclusive encampment. We have had people from all kinds of different backgrounds and to smear our intentions with strategic tactics to say we are perhaps intimidating students or disrupting exams is upsetting and disrespectful.

A protest encampment at the University of Birmingham in support of Palestine -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live
A protest encampment at the University of Birmingham in support of Palestine -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

"We are students who have exams and we don't want to be here. We want to work with the university with no hostility. We are only standing up for what is right and that's not to ethnically cleanse indigenous people from their land."

Another student, who did not wish to be named, added: "We won't be going anywhere. What we are doing is fair and just. How can we trespass on our own campus anyway? We pay for the right to be here and deserve to have our voices heard.

"We are not being noisy or disruptive, we are just standing up for what we believe in. We won't go away that easily just because of one letter."

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