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BREAKING: King’s College London students Protest the London Defence Conference

Image By Kayla Rahaman

Students from the KCL International Feminist Society and KCL Palestine Action protest the London Defence Conference taking place on the Strand Campus.

Early this afternoon protests outside of Bush House began to take place in opposition to the London Defence Conference (LDC). The conference is held in partnership with King’s College London and was founded in 2022 in direct response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Organising Committee of the Conference is comprised of academics from King’s alongside defence and security professionals. The 3 members from the Department of War Studies are Professor John Gearson, Professor Wyn Bowen and Dr Hillary Briffa.

The LDC earlier announced that this year’s theme would be;

“Deterrence, featuring leaders, policymakers, military, academia and industry discussing how to strengthen defence and security in an increasingly dangerous global environment”.

London Defence Conference

Furthermore, Roar was informed that today the conference would focus on “Future Leaders”. This morning the LDC has featured a panel titled “Youth Perspectives on Countering Terrorism” and an off-the-record talk titled “Being Defence Secretary workshop with Sir Michael Fallon and Lord George Robertson”

What is the Protest About?

It was announced yesterday on the KCL International Feminist Society group chat that they would ‘PROTEST TO SHUT DOWN THE LONDON ‘DEFENCE’ CONFERENCE.’ This announcement also accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of being a “WAR CRIMINAL”. Sunak was a speaker at the LDC last year.

Protestors outside the event have been heard shouting “Rishi Sunak you can’t hide. Israel’s doing genocide” and “Rishi Sunak shame on you”. Rishi Sunak is not attending the LDC this year, the only sitting MP believed to be in attendance is John Healey the Labour Shadow Defence Secretary who will be attending tomorrow.

The protestors began displaying three major banners “Every University in Gaza Has Been Destroyed”, “F**K NATO”, and “War Criminals + Genocide Supporters Off Our Campus.” A fourth banner saying “Stop the Genocide, No Ceasefire, No Vote, UK Government Complicit in Genocide, Bombing Hospitals is a War Crime” was later brought out.

One staff writer for Roar, who is covering the first day of the London Defence Conference has said that the protest is not being “disruptive” with “shouts and drums coming from time to time”.

A conference attendee who wished to remain anonymous told Roar, “If anyone needs to hear what the encampment has to say it’s the people at this conference aka the future leaders.”

This comes 8 days after an encampment expressing “unreserved solidarity” with the victims of the current war in the Gaza Strip began outside the King’s Building.

This is an ongoing story and further reports will bring more information as the protests unfold.

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