Cambridge students occupy King’s Parade with Palestinian solidarity encampment

Demands for support for Palestine were delivered to the university earlier this afternoon

For the second day running, Cambridge students have occupied King’s Parade in protest of the University of Cambridge’s links to Israel.

Students began the encampment on Monday 6th May with tents and banners currently seen on the lawn outside the main entrance to King’s College.

King’s Parade itself is flooded with peaceful protesters carrying signs with statements such as “divest from death” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

Chants such as “We are the students, we won’t be silenced. Stop the bombing now, now, now” were also audible throughout much of central Cambridge throughout the day.

The protestors’ demands were delivered in person to the university today, but have been visible on the cambridgeforpalestine Instagram page since yesterday.

They include calls for the university to disclose financial and professional ties with complicit organisations, divest funds and collaboration away from such organisations, reinvest in Palestinian students, academics and scholars and protect students at risk and become a university of sanctuary.

In addition to handing demands to the university, today’s programme at the encampment has also seen a workshop on apartheid off campus and a panel event on pink-washing.

The protest action seen over the last two days follows reports by CambridgeshireLive of earlier events such as the disruption of the University of Cambridge’s open days on Saturday and activists throwing red paint on the external walls of Trinity College chapel last month.

According to a statement released by the university earlier today, “the college and university are operating as normal”. The statement also included an acknowledgment of students’ right to protest, as well as links to guidance on safe public protest and sanctuary and scholarship support for asylum seekers.

The action over the last two days follows significant protests at US universities such as Columbia over previous weeks and is part of a wider movement within other UK universities such as Warwick, Bristol and Leeds, with no definitive end to the action planned as of yet.

In a joint statement concerning the encampments in both Oxford and Cambridge, the Cambridge branch of the UCU has claimed that “students’ demands align with the collective policy of our union both locally and internationally” and calls “on the two universities to take immediate action in response to the demands of the students”.

How long the encampment will remain on King’s Parade is yet to be determined.

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.”