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14th May 2024

Pro-Palestine protest escalates as police forcibly remove protestors

The ongoing Pro-Palestine protest against the University heats up as Police are called in to move protestors, while the SU attempts to mediate the dispute
Pro-Palestine protest escalates as police forcibly remove protestors
Credit: Miles Davenport @ The Mancunion

On May 9, an “emergency demonstration” held by members from the Manchester Camp of Resistance faced police intervention.

A video circulating on social media shows protestors on the ground as police attempted to forcibly move protestors from blocking the Oxford Road exit of the Whitworth Hall.

The camp on Brunswick Park is a form of protest against University ties with Israel.

Members from the camp held the “emergency demonstration” outside the Whitworth Arch. The “Making a Difference” awards, recognising exemplary volunteering within the student community, were being held inside the Whitworth Hall at the time.

A spokesperson for the Manchester Camp of Resistance said “On Thursday evening there was a peaceful demonstration against the Social Responsibility Awards.”

The protest was to “highlight the university’s complicity in the genocide in Gaza,” that statement contended.

The camp spokesperson described the response, saying that “[t]he response from the police (which the University had called) was to violently drag protestors away. Senior Management were aware and complicit in this act of state violence. Instead of opening negotiations, they choose to repress student activists.”

No arrests were made, according to the spokesperson.

The Mancunion has seen the text of a letter written by the SU Executive team addressed to the Senior Leadership team at the University of Manchester, where they ask for the University to negotiate with the Camp of Resistance.

In an instagram post, Manchester Leftist Action said that “the Student Union attempted to mediate a de-escalation with the University and were rejected by Patrick Hackett. Students are clear – escalations will only be called off if the University guarantees no disciplinary action and agrees to meet with the encampment to discuss our demands.”

A University of Manchester Students’ Union spokesperson said…

So far, the University has refused to enter discussions with the Manchester Camp of Resistance.

The University has previously made a statement expressing disapproval of the camp, and saying “[Y]ou have many legitimate ways to protest and express your views, and we urge you to use them.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “A police intervention was required at the Making a Difference awards last Thursday as protesters had blocked the exits and were refusing to let people leave. These awards celebrate the work of colleagues, students and our community in carrying out projects that make a positive difference to society.
“We respect the right of our students to protest peacefully but we cannot condone disruption of events, behaviours that were to many intimidating, and the denial of free access and exit to our students, staff and guests.
“We thank the police and our own campus support and security staff who dealt with the situation in a calm and restrained manner, allowing everyone to leave safely.”
Miles Davenport

Miles Davenport

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

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