Monday, 23 February 2009

Occupation begins!

Today at 5pm around 15 students and non-students occupied room 202 of the Smeaton building, in the centre of University of Plymouth campus. We're currently awaiting a response from vice-chancellor Wendy Purcell regarding our demands, which are as follows.

To Professor Wendy Purcell,
We are a group of students concerned about the university’s continuing support for Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank, indicated by the university’s investments with BAE Systems who have sold 236 F-16 fighter planes to the Israeli state, and its silence over the recent atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip. As a result we have occupied room 202 in the Smeaton Building in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to directly protest against the university’s complicity in Israeli war crimes. We are issuing the following demands to the university and we are willing to continue the occupation until they are met.

We demand:

1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.

2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.
We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.

The occupying students of the University of Plymouth

The university security staff have been particularly kind and understanding, offering us any help and assistance if needed. We'll keep this blog updated as things progress.

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