Sheffield Palestine encampment: 'We will not be moving' say university protesters as encampment grows

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Protesters formed a “mass picket” outside a University of Sheffield building.

Protesters at the Sheffield University Palestine encampment will not be going anywhere until their demands are met, members have said after assembling outside Firth Court today.

A “mass picket” of students, staff and alumni from the University of Sheffield (UOS) and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) unfurled banners and assembled outside the university building where the UOS education awards were being held.

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A student member of the Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine (SCCP) said: “We have made every effort to present our concerns and our demands to the University administration, to no avail... As students, staff and alumni, we stand in solidarity with students of all ages in Palestine for whom education has been entirely halted for over eight months.

A pro-Palestine encampment has been situated outside the Sheffield University Students' Union since May 1, 2024. They have recently reaffirmed they "will not be moving".A pro-Palestine encampment has been situated outside the Sheffield University Students' Union since May 1, 2024. They have recently reaffirmed they "will not be moving".
A pro-Palestine encampment has been situated outside the Sheffield University Students' Union since May 1, 2024. They have recently reaffirmed they "will not be moving". | Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine

“The University most certainly wants us to disassemble, so that their pristine reputation at open days and graduations this summer is not tarnished... However, we will not be moving. We will stand strong in solidarity with the Palestinians who refuse to walk away from their homeland.”

This is the UOS’ second attempt at holding its education awards after the first on May 8 was gatecrashed by the SCCP.

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Protesters were from the encampment outside the University of Sheffield Students Union, which has been in place since May 1, 2024.

The SCCP have repeatedly informed followers they will not be leaving until Sheffield University meets a list of demands, including severing “all ties to Israeli universities” and meeting with students and staff from the SCCP community.

Protesters at the Sheffield University Palestine encampment have said they "will not be moving".Protesters at the Sheffield University Palestine encampment have said they "will not be moving".
Protesters at the Sheffield University Palestine encampment have said they "will not be moving". | Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine

In 2022, a Freedom of Information request revealed Sheffield University had received £72million from companies involved in the arms trade since 2012.

The arms trade is entirely legal, but UOS’ links to companies like Boeing, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems have been of concern for members of SCCP - due to products from some of these companies being used by the Israeli government in Gaza.

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The Israeli government claim the ongoing assault on Gaza is to destroy Hamas (the political and military movement governing the Gaza Strip). The war has been ongoing since October 7, 2023, when a surprise attack on Israel, led by Hamas, killed 1,143 people and 252 were taken hostage.

The Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine disrupted the first attempt at an education awards in May 2024. The rescheduled ceremony went ahead today, with a protest outside.The Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine disrupted the first attempt at an education awards in May 2024. The rescheduled ceremony went ahead today, with a protest outside.
The Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine disrupted the first attempt at an education awards in May 2024. The rescheduled ceremony went ahead today, with a protest outside. | Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine

In response, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a sustained and ongoing assault on Gaza. To date, IDF attacks have killed 36,439 people in Gaza, including more than 15,000 children. More than 80 per cent of Gaza’s population have been internally displaced.

The IDF response has prompted concern from around the world, resulting in ongoing proceedings in the International Criminal Court.

The student member of the SCCP continued: “Today we have reminded the university that there is a clear and frankly easy path for them to end our encampment: Acknowledge our presence then agree to and attend a meeting with us to address our demands.”

The University of Sheffield was approached for a response.

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