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21st March 2024

Pro-Palestinian student groups occupy Simon Building in protest against University

Manchester Leftist Action have occupied the Simon Building to protest alleged University connections with Israel, along with students from UoM Rent Strike and Youth Front for Palestine
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Pro-Palestinian student groups occupy Simon Building in protest against University
Credit: Miles Davenport @ The Mancunion

Update: This occupation ended on Friday March 22 after three days of ‘workshops, meetings and preparations.’

Students from several student action groups have occupied the Simon Building in protest of ‘complicity in Palestinian genocide’, as of the afternoon of Tuesday 21

Manchester Leftist action, along with Rent Strike and YFFP, are demanding an end to the University of Manchester’s alleged ties to arms companies and Israeli Universities during the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

The Simon Building has previously been occupied by UoM Rent Strike, with the protestors eventually being evicted by bailiffs on March 22 2023 following a ruling by the Manchester High Court.

Manchester Leftist Action had also previously occupied the Samuel Alexander Building in November to protest alleged University involvement in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Their demands are as follows:

  1. End Partnership with BAE Systems.
  2. End ties with Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  3. End unethical research.

    Credit: Miles Davenport @ The Mancunion

A representative from Manchester Leftist Action (MLA) was interviewed on the condition of anonymity.

When asked about the University’s response denying allegations connecting it to Israel, the MLA rep said that “it’s just not true”, and that the “web of connections runs quite deep.”

The rep also alleged that the University “spent £150K” evicting UoM Rent Strike during the last occupation. They went on to comment that “if it takes the University another £150K” to evict the new occupiers, “maybe that will make them reconsider their ties to the Israeli State.”

This figure is disputed, with both ITV and The Manchester Tab claiming the figure to be closer to around £40,000.

They did not commit to a definitive timeframe for the length of the occupation.

A University spokesperson said: “We are aware of a student occupation in the Simon Building which began on Tuesday afternoon, and Campus Support and Security are in attendance. The wellbeing of staff and students is our priority, and we will continue to monitor the situation. We intend to continue to operate as usual.”

The previous statement made by the University can be found here.

Miles Davenport

Miles Davenport

Co-Editor of News, 2023-2024, 3rd year student in History & Sociology

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