All the large-scale encampments happening at UK university campuses right now

The protestors plan to stay ‘indefinitely’ or until their demands are met

This week has seen encampments pop up at UK university campuses all across the country. In a week of action, pro-Palestine student protestors have set up camp at University of Warwick, University of Bristol, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University College London, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, Trinity College Dublin and SOAS. Swansea University and Goldsmith’s also had encampments on their campuses but both have reportedly already ended.

This follows a string of similar encampments undertaken by students in the United States last week protesting the situation in Gaza. Some of these protests have erupted into violence with reportedly hundreds of protesting students being arrested by police.

Now students at these seven UK university campuses are following suit with even more encampments expected to be set up in the coming days. The so far peaceful protestors are calling for their universities to cease all links it may have to any Israeli universities and also to divest from companies that supply arms to Israel.

Here’s a full run down of the UK university campuses that have encampments so far:


University of Warwick was the first UK university to have an encampment set up on its campus with students, under the name Warwick Stands With Palestine, erecting tents in the campus piazza outside the Students’ Union at around 1am on 26th April. This was done in time for a university offer holder day that took place the next day on Sunday 27th.

With “more than 200 people supporting the occupation”, Warwick Stands With Palestine explains that it is a “cross-campus coalition of student and staff organisations which holds Palestinian liberation as a cause central to the struggle against exploitation and oppression”.

The university has confirmed that there will be no threat of disciplinary action for protesting students.

A spokesperson for Warwick University said: “This demonstration is being managed in line with our legal duty and commitment to allow freedom of speech on campus.

“The University of Warwick will not initiate any disciplinary action against any protesters, organisers or students involved in the ongoing demonstration unless the University receives complaints that would have to be reviewed under the Duty of Care owed to all students.”

University of Bristol

Students at the University of Bristol followed suit five days after Warwick, setting up an encampment in the campuses’ Royal Fort Gardens at about 3am on 1st May. Their location in the Royal Fort Gardens is visible to anyone walking on campus, creating an “educational space” encouraging participation from students.

The students involved told The Tab that they plan to stay indefinitely until the “university pledges to divest from arms companies, call for an immediate ceasefire and involve students in their partnerships.”

A spokesperson from the University of Bristol said: “We are aware that a group has set up several tents in Royal Fort Gardens. We fully respect the rights of our students to peacefully protest within the law.”

University of Sheffield

UK university encampments

Also on Wednesday 1st May, students from protest group Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine set up an encampment outside the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union.

The university sent out an email to all students outlining its commitment to free speech, and the right to protest. It also that protestors would be able to access facilities in the Students’ Union building over the bank holiday weekend.

A spokesperson from the University of Sheffield, said: “A small number of people have pitched tents in front of our Students’ Union following a planned protest. We support the right of our students to express their views peacefully and within the law and planned campus activities will continue as normal.

“We ask students involved in protests to be mindful of the experiences and positions of others. We also want to remind our students of the behavioural expectations around protests and that racism, antisemitism or Islamophobia will not be tolerated.”

University of Leeds

UK university encampments

Leeds students have announced their intention to camp “indefinitely” outside of Leeds University’s student union in solidarity with Palestine on Wednesday, 1st May. Protestors occupied the green space opposite Leeds University Union, claiming they would remain in place until the University of Leeds is “no longer complicit in the oppression of the Palestinian people”.

A spokesperson for the University of Leeds said: “The university is monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of participants, as well as our wider community of staff and students. The surrounding area remains open.

“Whilst we respect the right to freedom of expression within the law, we are working to minimise disruption for everyone on campus. We know that many in our community are distressed and directly impacted by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, and we will continue to do more to support our students, act to protect the cohesion of our community and tackle hatred wherever it is found.”

University of Manchester

UK university encampments

Protestors took over Brunswick Park on Wednesday, erecting an array of tents which look to replicate the Palestinian flag. Banners and flags were also been put up on the green, with students planning on staying “until the university listens to their demands”.

Protestors are calling for the University of Manchester to cut ties with arms companies, cut ties with Israeli universities and institute a “proper ethical research policy”. They are also requesting that students participating in the encampment and past occupations do not receive disciplinary action.

The University of Manchester released a statement, where Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Hackett, expressed the “importance” of exercising free speech within the law, but also recognising respect towards different opinions.

Newcastle University

UK university encampments

Newcastle students set up tents and a gazebo opposite the Students’ Union on Thursday. Activists in Newcastle claim to be the largest of the UK university encampments at present, with organisers having planned activities for protestors for the next coming weeks. They intend to continue occupying campus and “escalating their actions” until their demands have been met.

A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “We respect the right to peaceful protests and freedom of speech and are engaging with protestors.

“We are committed to our core values, which include social and environmental justice; equality, diversity and inclusion; and we have been deeply affected by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine.

“Working with industry partners is critical in helping us to leverage our world-class research, to advance science and to support the UK’s development through high-value employment and skills. Any proposals for defence and security collaborations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The university does not invest in companies making armaments.”

University College London

via Instagram @abdullahbaileyphoto

Students at UCL erected tents on campus on Thursday evening. Around 10 protestors slept in tents on the green, with around 30 activists joining them in activities and rallies throughout the day today. Students are calling for the university to divest from companies they declare to be “complicit in genocide”.

A UCL spokesperson said: “Like many other universities, a small protest with tents is taking place in our quad. We are speaking with the organisers and carefully monitoring the situation.

“We will manage this in line with our legal duty and commitment to promote freedom of speech within the law, whilst ensuring the safety and security of our community and enabling our education and research activity to continue.”

Trinity College Dublin

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A post shared by Clare IPSC (@clare_ipsc)

On Friday, students set up an encampment for Palestine on the Trinity College Dublin campus. Holding flags and banners, students also used benches to block access to the Book of Kells attraction.

The university responded on Saturday by announcing that access to its campus has been restricted to students and staff with valid college ID cards. It also issued a statement announcing that it condemns the onslaught on Gaza and supports International Court of Justice’s finding on genocide and explained how a Trinity Task Force will be established to consider links to Israeli universities and institutions in other states. The university also accepted eight Palestinian scholars on Trinity courses, with more will follow.

SOAS University of London

Students at SOAS began an encampment on campus on Monday 6th May, where they claimed to have “liberated the green”. Protestors were seen linking arms on the square as tents and flags were erected.

Speeches were made as protestors demand the university include the disclosure and divestment of funds connected to the government of Israel and to decolonise by removing elements of funding from a government engaged in colonisation, dispossession and genocide against the Palestinians as argued at the ICJ.

University of Liverpool

via Instagram @lvrpool_enc

The most recent institution to become involved in the UK university encampments, Liverpool students began an encampment yesterday on Abercromby Square. The square has since been declared declared as a Liberated Zone and renamed as Alareer Square.

They intend to remain on the square until the University of Liverpool meet their demands, which include the severance of research ties with companies implicated in Palestinian oppression as well as “complete financial and cultural boycott and divestment from the Zionist entity”.

Protestors are also demanding the university calls for an immediate ceasefire and offers Palestinian scholarships and assistance in rebuilding infrastructure, as well as discloses its investments and confirm that no participants in the encampment suffer detriment to their employment or education. They also want the institution to look into how its research has been “used in the genocide”.

University of Oxford

Another encampment set up yesterday was the University of Oxford. Students have set up tents at the Pitt Rivers and National History Museums declaring it a Liberated Zone. Tents can be seen across the lawns covered in hand-painted signs reading “Welcome to the People’s University for Palestine”, “Oxford Action for Palestine”, “There are no universities left in Gaza” and “Divest from genocide”.

According to the Oxford for Palestine organisation, the demands include: disclosing university-wide assets, divesting university-wide assets, overhauling investment policy, boycotting institutional relationships, dropping Barclays Bank and rebuilding and reinvesting.

An Oxford University spokesperson said: “We are aware of the ongoing demonstration by members of our university community. We respect our students and staff members right to freedom of expression in the form of peaceful protests. We ask everyone who is taking part to do so with respect, courtesy and empathy.”

University of Cambridge

Alongside students at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University students began an encampment on Monday 6th May. Whilst celebrities were attending the Met Gala, students were pitching tents and erecting Palestinian flags in solidarity with the nation.

An array of tents were set up on the lawn outside King’s College, as well as signs and banners in support of Palestine. Student activists are similarly demanding that the university pulls funding from different investments.

Organising the encampment, a spokesperson for Cambridge for Palestine said: “We demand that the University of Cambridge: discloses and divests from its financial and professional support for Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza; re-invests in affected academics; and protects all forced migrants and protesting students.”

A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge said: “The university is fully committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law and we acknowledge the right to protest.

“We ask everyone in our community to treat each other with understanding and empathy. Our priority is the safety of all staff and students.

“We will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia and any other form of racial or religious hatred, or other unlawful activity.”

University of Edinburgh

via @eu_jps on Instagram

Students at the University of Edinburgh also set up an encampment on campus over the long weekend. The students began erecting their tents in the quad of the university’s Old College at around midday on Sunday. In a UK first, the 50 or so protesting students from Edinburgh University Justice for Palestine Society are also embarking on a hunger strike until their demands are met.

In an Instagram post the group wrote: “We, a group of students at the University of Edinburgh, have decided to go on hunger strike.

“We refuse to uncritically benefit from education given to us by a university that has historically so directly contributed to the colonisation of Palestine through its close ties with Lord Arthur Balfour, and we refuse to be made complicit by our silence in the economic and academic support that our university gives to the illegitimate and genocidal state of Israel.”

University of Aberdeen

via Instagram @abdntalkspalestine

Aberdeen students pitched tents on Elphinstone Lawn yesterday in support for Palestine.

With support from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), protestors set up the encampment at university’s King’s College campus in Old Aberdeen at around 11am.

Urging for the university to call a ceasefire a spokesperson for the group explained that they intend to remain on the lawn until the university meets their demands to “divest, condemn, pledge and protect.”

A spokesperson for the University of Aberdeen said: “The university respects and supports the right to peaceful and lawful protest. Our campus should be a safe space for all, and we are clear that any incidents of harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated.”

Featured image Gary Roberts Photography/Shutterstock. 

SOAS, University of Liverpool and University of Edinburgh were approached for comment.  

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