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Over 150 University of Manchester students have occupied the main university administration building in a demand for a stronger and more proactive position from the university on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The students have proposed a set of demands on the university’s Vice Chancellor Alan Gilbert, including a boycott of Israeli goods on campus, support for a day of fundraising with proceeds to the DEC fund, and that the university end research into manufacturing arms.
Students at other universities have taken similar actions over the last three weeks and have been successful in their demands.
The conflict has killed over 1,300 Palestinians and injured thousands. Tens of thousands of civilians have been left homeless. Head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, John Ging, is now joining international calls for an investigation into the war crimes of the recent action, wherein Israel stands accused of using banned weapons such as white phosphorus and cluster bombs, attacking medical facilities, including the killing of 12 ambulance men in marked vehicles, and killing large numbers of policemen who had no military role.
Over 500 students attended an emergency general meeting of the students union to discuss a motion on the issue of the crisis in Gaza, whereby the students marched on University administration headquarters, the John Owens Building, to draw up a list of demands.
The peaceful occupation is planned to continue for as long as it takes to achieve its demands, and promises to welcome high profile speakers during the week.
1) University of Manchester should issue a formal statement condemning Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, acknowledging particularly the effect on educational institutions such as the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University and expressing concern about war crimes allegations.
2) Support a day of fundraising proceeds to DEC
3) All furniture & surplus supplies from buildings that are being renovated to be sent to Gaza on the Viva Palestina convey ….
4) Stop selling Israeli good on university premises
5) That the university divests from all companies involved at all in the arms trade & end all research with these companies on campus
6) University to publicise DEC advert in any way possible (including banner on the website) and put pressure on the BBC and sky to show the DEC advert.
Further demands are in the process of being formulated.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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2) The group have set up a blog with frequent updates at: http://manunioccupation.wordpress.com/
3) Media outlets can contact katan at 07917206282 or 01612 758007