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3rd May 2024

Pro-Palestine groups camp out on Brunswick Park

In a move inspired by Pro-Palestine protests on American University Campuses, Brunswick Park now has its own encampment
Pro-Palestine groups camp out on Brunswick Park
Credit: Miles Davenport @ The Mancunion

Pro-Palestine Groups, including Manchester Leftist Action and Youth Front for Palestine, have begun an encampment on the main path of Brunswick Park on the University campus. 

This protest is a continuation of action conducted by Pro-Palestine groups against the University’s alleged involvement in the Israel-Gaza conflict. 

This follows on from a series of building occupations previously conducted by Pro-Palestine groups, including the occupations of the Simon Building and the Roscoe Building in March and April respectively. 

Their demands remain mostly unchanged from those occupations: 

  1. Cut ties with BAE systems
  2. Ends ties with Tel Aviv University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  3. Adopt a policy ensuring all research is ethical and does not contribute to the arms trade
  4. No disciplinary action against student protesters

The fourth clause comes after a member of MLA was recently suspended for their involvement in the Roscoe occupation and the recording of Nancy Rothwell at an open meeting.

Other similar protest actions have been ongoing in the United States, most significantly at Columbia University and UCLA, both of which have seen police action against them.

According to Manchester Leftist Action spokesperson Sue, the encampment is an “escalation” after a call from Palestinian Resistance. 

Sue said that “What you see in the US, is them escalating their actions. What you see here is us escalating our actions. We are in solidarity with our comrades in the US, and we’re responding to the call from Palestine.”

Speaking about her own motivations and of those around her, Sue said, “We do not want our tuition fees going towards the Israeli war machine.” 

Sue also confirmed that the encampment on Brunswick Park was inspired by recent protests on American University campuses.

Credit: Miles Davenport @ The Mancunion

On May 2 at 2 pm, encampment members marched towards the Samuel Alexander building. Congregated on the steps of the building, organisers gave speeches focussed on the university’s alleged ties with BAE systems as well as the continued conflict in Palestine.

According to a Manchester Leftist Action spokesperson, “For the next couple of days, we are going to be having a daily demo at 2 [pm],” adding that “We invite all the students to come and staff as well.” A timetable at the encampment has these daily protests scheduled. 

When asked about the protestor’s message to the University, a different MLA spokesperson gave a clear statement: “To the University, we know exams are coming up, we don’t want to be here. But we will be here. We will be here until they listen to our demands.”

A University statement said: “We fully recognise the right of students and staff to protest within the law, however, setting up camp in a city campus raises potential health & safety concerns, risks disruption to staff, students and our wider community and ultimately is an unauthorised and unlawful use of the University’s campus.”

Patrick Hackett, the University’s Chief Operating Officer, addressed protestors directly in the statement, “You have many legitimate ways to protest and express your views, and we urge you to use them.”

The full University statement can be found here.

Miles Davenport

Miles Davenport

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

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