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Students protest for a second week in Palestinian solidarity

On Wednesday 25th October at 1pm, approximately 200 students met outside the Arts and Social Sciences Library to protest for the Palestinian cause.

By Amelia Jacob, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The protest was organised by the Socialist Worker Student Society, and took place at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon, following last week's protest outside Senate House.

Students congregated outside the Arts and Social Sciences Library at 1pm before marching down to Will's Memorial Building.

There were approximately 200 students in attendance.

Image courtesy of Amelia Jacob

A number of speakers addressed the crowd, including a representative from UoB Friends of Palestine, Bristol Stop the War Coalition, a UoB lecturer and a trade unionist from UNISON.

There were several chants of 'free Palestine', and a Palestinian student addressing the crowd thanked all attendees 'on behalf of the Palestinian people.'

Speaking to Epigram, Holly Rigby, from Bristol Stop the War Coalition, stated:

'We're here because we want to support the brave students who are protesting and have organised this protest today. It takes courage to stand up for Palestine, especially when Bristol University has a historic record of not supporting solidarity with Palestine.'

'We want to support and encourage all students that they have the right to freedom of speech on Palestine, they have the right to speak up against colonisation, against apartheid and against ethnic cleansing, and that Israel is breaking international law.'

Image courtesy of Amelia Jacob

Yesterday Evelyn Welch, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, sent an email to students on the 'ongoing violent conflict and humanitarian crisis in Israel and Gaza'.

She commented: 'My thoughts, and those of the entire University Executive, are with all members of our community personally affected by the devastating loss of life and suffering in this region. Your wellbeing and safety at this distressing and uncertain time is our priority.'

'At this difficult time, it is more important than ever that we stand together as a community and uphold our shared values of mutual respect, care, compassion and inclusivity. We also need to recognise the hurt and vulnerability that others may be feeling.'

She added: 'At the same time, I must address reports that unacceptable material, supportive of Hamas, appears to have been available at a demonstration that took place on our campus. It is important for everyone in our community to be fully aware that Hamas is categorised in the UK as a proscribed terrorist organisation, meaning it is illegal to express support, including moral support, for Hamas and its activities.

'No matter how deeply we are feeling the impact of these terrible events, every member of our University community must feel safe and included. No form of racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, other unlawful discrimination, incitement to violence, or bullying or harassment will be tolerated and any reports of such behaviour will be taken very seriously.

'If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any of the above, we would urge you to report this to the University.'

The full statement from the University regarding Israel and Gaza can be found here.

The peaceful protest outside the Arts and Social Sciences Library lasted just under 40 minutes.

Featured image courtesy of Amelia Jacob

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