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Bristol Occupy for Palestine ends Tyndall Avenue occupation after four weeks

After four weeks, Bristol Occupy for Palestine ends its occupation at 5 Tyndall Avenue upon receiving a possession order.

By Milan PereraDeputy Editor

Bristol Occupy for Palestine has ended its four-week occupation and left 5 Tyndall Avenue executive offices.

On Wednesday, April 3, the occupiers were served with a possession order by the University.

The protesters left the premises on April 4 peacefully, on the 28th day of the occupation. 

Bristol Occupy for Palestine brought their occupation to closure after four weeks - Milan Perera

However, the group has vowed that the end of the occupation is not the ‘end of the fight’ as they continue to mount pressure on the university to meet their demands.

During the four weeks, the occupiers have exchanged email correspondences with Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice Chancellor at the University of Bristol and have met with Professor Philip Taylor, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise who is a member of the Executive Board in person.

The occupation originally started in the Victoria Rooms, before moving to 5 Tyndall Avenue on March 13, cutting off access to university management in ‘protest of university complicity in the genocide in Gaza.’

Among the demands of the protesters included calling for an immediate ceasefire, cutting ties with companies ‘complicit’ in the conflict in Gaza, ending the requirement of the Check-In app and ensuring free speech on campus.

The university offered assurance that no disciplinary action would be taken against the occupiers. 

Bristol Occupy for Palestine said: ‘The fight goes on. More and more Palestinians are dying day by day, and Israel continues to become more and more brash with its contraventions of international law. The occupiers will continue to fight the university’s complicity in the genocide.'

Speaking to Epigram, one of the occupiers who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘It is regrettable and deeply disappointing that the University ordained to take legal action against its conscientious and exceedingly brave students rather than engage in ongoing discussion with the occupiers.

‘This is especially shocking given that the occupiers had been reassured repeatedly by security staff, cleaning staff and members of the University Executive Board that they had been continually acting cordially and courteously towards staff members and had been complying with requests made of them. 

‘For the University Executive Board (UEB) to engage in only one meeting with the occupiers over the course of 28 days of occupation is shameful, and we believe it perfectly demonstrates their lack of regard for the genuine concerns of the student body around the genocide of Palestinians. There has been no assurance that the notes from this meeting have been communicated to the UEB.’

Regarding this development, a University of Bristol spokesperson said: ‘We have a responsibility to consider the potential impact that this almost month-long occupation could be having in terms of these students’ education, learning, and overall health and wellbeing. In addition, there has been ongoing disruption to university business with the closure of the building.

‘We felt we had no other option but to begin legal proceedings to require them to leave the building which the occupiers were informed of on Wednesday. This was not a decision we took lightly, and we are pleased that the students have decided to end their occupation.

‘We fully respect the rights of our students to peacefully protest within the law and we are always willing to engage with them to discuss any concerns. As such, we have offered assurances to those involved that they will not be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

'Open discussion and debate are an important part of university life and the Vice-Chancellor had offered several times to meet with this group to discuss their specific points in person once they ended their protest. A meeting has been arranged for next week.’

The protesters are scheduled to have an in-person meeting with Professor Evelyn Welch to discuss their demands.

Featured image: Bristol Occupy for Palestine

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