Students occupy UK university campuses in protest against Gaza war

Pro-Palestinian students have gathered in protest at universities across the UK following violent demonstrations at campuses in the US.

Students in Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol set up tents outside university buildings on Wednesday in protest against the war in Gaza.

Bristol students said they staged the action “in protest of the university’s complicity in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians”, while Apartheid Off Campus Newcastle said its demonstration was to “highlight the institution’s investment strategy and its complicity in the Israeli military’s war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank”.

Student activists elsewhere held marches and one-off protests.

One camp, at Warwick University, has been set up in the piazza for a week.

The groups have called on their universities to divest from Israel in response to its military operation in the Gaza Strip.

This would mean selling off stock in Israeli companies or otherwise dropping financial ties.

The students have asked for supporters to donate food, drinks and hygiene products.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a UK-based organisation which claims to be the largest British group “dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights”, wrote on X: “Today, students from Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield have joined Warwick – demanding that our universities stop investing in Israel’s genocide!”

Images shared by the group showed large groups of students gathering on campuses, alongside tents and banners on prominent areas of the universities.

The protests follow violent clashes at campuses across the US, most prominently at Columbia University in New York.

Violence also broke out at the University of California (UCLA), and more than 1,000 protesters have been arrested across the US.