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‘Reinstate Our Officers’ Protest Outside Bush House, Yet Suspensions Still Not Confirmed

Protest outside Bush House

This morning, a protest took place at King’s College London (KCL) calling for the reinstatement of three officers who have had a public dispute with the student union (KCLSU). Yet, despite repeated efforts by Roar to verify the suspensions, neither KCLSU nor the officers themselves have commented on the widely-reported claim.

This morning, KCL students organised a walk-out in solidarity with the three student officers who have allegedly been suspended over their public comments about the Union. The event featured speakers including KCL academics, public figures, a KCL UNISON official and an organiser of London pro-Palestinian marches. The speakers called for freedom of speech, disinvestment from Israel, an end to the occupation of Palestine and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Most notably, they referenced the KCLSU suspensions, with one speaker claiming that the Union and University have “suppressed” their campaign by making it prohibitively difficult to organise protest events. There was a placard next to the speakers which stated the demands of organisers: an immediate ceasefire, divestment, an end to ‘UK complicity’ and ‘university repression’. The protest ended with a chant to “Reinstate our officers”, before the group marched to Downing Street.

An Instagram post from @handsoffourofficers, one of the accounts which promoted today’s protest.

Hassan Ali (VP Welfare & Community), Sadaf Abbas Cheema (VP Arts & Sciences) and Alizeh Abrar (VP Postgraduate) released a joint statement about the bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the Union’s lack of a public statement on 28 November. The next day they alleged that they had been met with “intimidation”, “scare tactics” and verbal threats of suspension by senior leadership at the KCLSU in response to their statement.

Middle East Eye (MEE) reported earlier this week that the suspensions had been confirmed, but they do not report a source. They state that “several staff members at KCLSU who wished to remain anonymous” had commented that “the officers had been “singled out” and “excluded” for attempting to request that the union issue a statement”, but do not state that these staff members confirmed that the suspensions were official. Some accounts involved in organising today’s protest have used the designation ‘alleged suspension’, while others are definitively stating that the officers have “now been suspended”.

Roar is yet to have the suspensions verified by either the Union or the officers. Neither party has released a public statement confirming or denying the allegation, and Roar are still awaiting a formal response from the KCLSU Press Office.

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