UK (IP) - Students at two of central London’s most prestigious universities, University College London (UCL) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) gathered to commemorate Palestinian martyrs.

Iran PressEurope: On Saturday, May 11, students from UCL and SOAS came together to honor the martyrdom of former UCL alum, Dr. Refaat Alareer who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza on 6th December 2023, during Israel’s current genocidal war on Palestinian people.

The students were joined by Jewish children of Holocaust survivors, as well as Orthodox anti-Zionist Jewish Rabbis, in expressing their heartfelt solidarity with the besieged Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

They also commemorated the prominent Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed by an Israeli soldier on May 11, 2022. Abu Akleh was shot while wearing a blue press vest while covering an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. 

Inspired by the student encampments for Gaza which began in the United States, British university students began similar encampments. As the organizers explained, the students’ primary demand is that their educational institutions stop cooperation with Israeli companies and arms manufacturers, and no longer be complicit in the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

The American student protest movement began on April 17 at Columbia University in New York; the protesting students called on the university to cut off its relations with the Israeli institutions involved in the war on Gaza.

Specifically, at SOAS, students demand that their university cut ties with the University of Haifa and boycott all Israeli academic institutions. Protestors have pointed out SOAS’ hypocritical stance in building an anti-colonial reputation for themselves while maintaining relations with the colonial entity of Israel.

In the British capital, UCL students became the first to begin a student encampment for Gaza on May 2. The movement was followed soon by SOAS on May 6, with other universities around London being expected to follow the trend. 

Elsewhere around the UK, students have set-up similar encampments on their campuses with the same demands, at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and several other universities. 219

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