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KCL Students Stage Sit Down Protest for Permanent Ceasefire in Gaza

palestine protest on strand
palestine protest on strand

In the early afternoon of Tuesday 12 March, students from King’s College London (KCL) staged a sit-in protest in the entryway to Strand campus.

Protestors sat on the ground in front of the security gates at the main entrance to the Strand building, bearing flags, placards and megaphones. The students delivered speeches to the students going into and coming out of the building, chanting slogans like “KCL you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “Israel is a terrorist state”.

The protest was peaceful, with the security team co-ordinating the flow of traffic to bypass the protestors. The protestors left voluntarily after a set amount of time, which was agreed with the attendant security officers.

Taken by a Roar reporter at the scene (12/03/24)

The placards shown include a list of demands the protestors have for the university. These read:

  1. Call for a permanent ceasefire
  2. Divest from funds that directly and indirectly profit from ‘Israeli’ occupation and war crimes
  3. Re-issue a statement addressing the genocide
  4. Establish 50 funded scholarships for Palestinians
  5. End ‘Israeli’ educational ties
  6. Revoke IHRA antisemitism definition & make a working group for a new one

Roar attended the protest and spoke to the protestors. “We’ve come together because we’re really angry at the university’s lack of adequate response towards the genocide and scholasticide [sic] in Gaza, that’s why we’re coming together and we’re willing to escalate”, one protestor said. “There are many students, thousands of us at KCL, who are appalled with KCL’s complicity with genocide in Gaza.”

Protestors also commented on their perceived rise in Islamophobia on campus: “there’s been numerous meetings between the Muslim population on campus and university management, but people still aren’t happy. The university is still not doing anything meaningful, and I think our demands are really meaningful and the university will be putting its money where its mouth is.”

One student was clearly upset by the protest and confronted the line of protesters. He was moved a few metres away by security.

Roar spoke to Jewish students who were at the scene, but none of them were willing to comment on the record.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the university’s response to it, have been controversial topics on campus. Students have arranged walkouts for ceasefire, both at King’s and at the wider University of London. Roar’s latest print edition examines the perspectives of both Muslim and Jewish students about the new environment on campus.

In January, academics came together to write an open letter to Shitij Kapur, calling for further action and for the university to endorse a ceasefire. In November, three of KCLSU’s elected officers were suspended after releasing a joint statement condemning KCLSU’s silence on the conflict.

To read more about protests on campus, click here.

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