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KCL UCU Stages ‘Stand With Gaza’ Workplace Day of Action Walkout on Campus

Speakers at the walkout on 7 February
Photo by Photography Lead Emma Carmichael

The King’s College London (KCL) branch of the University and College Union (UCU) hosted a walkout for ceasefire in Gaza on 7 February, 2024.

The walkout took place on the Strand, Guy’s and Denmark Hill campuses at midday, to remember alumni who have died in Gaza since the beginning of the conflict on 7 October. KCL UCU demand that “all forms of institutional complicity & repression of pro-Palestine voices must stop”.

Denmark Hill’s ‘Stand With Gaza’ brochure promoting a ‘workplace day of action’

The event was attended by speakers from both King’s and other universities. KCL UCU said that higher education workers “must protect [their] sector from genocide”. They condemn the university’s response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and say that they “don’t accept business as usual in the face of our universities’ complicity”.

Posters of alumni killed in the conflict were pasted up around the protest sites, most notably photos of Dr Maisara Alrayyes. Alrayyes had studied for a master’s in Women and Children’s Health at King’s as a Chevening Scholar, an award given by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to foreign nationals who “show potential to inspire, inform, and influence positive change”. He had returned to Gaza to work for international humanitarian medical organisation, Médecins du Monde-France.

Photo credit: @KCL_UCU on Twitter

The protest was sparked primarily by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel has to take all possible measures to prevent genocidal acts and punish incitement to genocide. The UCU argue that universities who collaborate with Israel are therefore “potentially complicit in genocide”.

Speakers in attendance were from King’s, the UCU, and other higher education institutions. One speech was given by Dr Jehad Hammad, former Vice Dean of Medicine at the Islamic University of Gaza. Dr Hammad has written a blog on the UCU website about pupils he has lost in Gaza, titled ‘The tales of my medical students’.

“Maysara Alrayes, Ahmad Shabat, Alaa Alaqad, and Ezzaldein Allolo represent merely four stories out of the two million in Gaza, each telling a tale of heartbreaking loss and shattered dreams.”

Dr Jehad Hammad, ‘The tales of my medical students’

He is now a Teaching and Research Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at KCL.

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