Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Occupation Begins

Well well well, it's been kind of an eventful afternoon.

Around 25 of us are occupying the fine arts lecture theatre in solidarity with the people of palestine.

Our demands are as follows:

Newcastle University issue a statement that condemns Israel’s recent action in Gaza that has led to the deaths of over 1400 Palestinian people. We urge the Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University to take measures to provide academic aid and financial support to The Islamic University of Gaza and develop a scholarship programme for Palestinian students who have had their right to an education taken away because of the conflict. We also call for Newcastle University to disinvest from the arms trade completely. In addition to this we demand that the university lifts its ban on flyering and raising awareness of political causes on campus. Our final demand is that the university should co-ordinate a fund and awareness raising campaign on behalf of medical aid for Palestinians.

After some initial confusion over getting into the lecture theatre we successfully managed to secure ourselves inside the building and hang up banners posters etc. The vice-chancellor, executive office and students union president have all been notified as well as local and national press.

Security weren't that quick off the mark so we're very secure inside, in all honesty they looked a little confused.

A Mr. John Hogan (the university registrar) came over at around 5:45. He told us that the university would not negotiate with us whilst the occupation was taking place but would be willing to discuss matters, and I quote, "in a comfy office". After a 45 minute break we met again with Mr. Hogan and delivered to him the following pre-conditions;

If all four pre-conditions are met then locks on the doors will be removed for the evening of 10th March 2009.

§ There will be no recriminations against any student involved in or supporting this occupation at any point either during or after its duration.
§ Access to the occupied space will be under the control of the Newcastle University Gaza Solidarity Campaign during this occupation, this includes access to the toilets downstairs.
§ We will have freedom of access for ourselves and other supporters into our occupied space.No security staff or other unauthorised persons will breach any of the doors to the occupied space during this occupation.

In repsonse to this he ensured that those in the occupation have freedom of movement inside the occupied space and that security would not remove any of us. He also agreed to us staying here the night and that "at the current" time there will be no recriminations against any student involved in or supporting the campaign.

He is returning tomorrow morning bright and early (8:30am) to reconvene negotiations.


Newcastle University Gaza Solidarity Campaign


  1. Sounds like a good start. Solidarity with everyone inside the occupied space. Alex.

  2. Good luck with your occupation. I will share the news with my union branch and ask that Unison send a message of support. If you need anything let me know. Ed

  3. Solidarity from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! There are currently comrades outside the lecture theatre but security are not letting any more people in. Please keep us posted during the night. The orange juice and croissants are ready to be delivered in the morning - make good use of your first night to make the links you need.

    Also, I was thinking, as you are in the Art lecture theatre, maybe you could make an appeal for artwork about resistance to repression. There will be loads from around the world and by local artists as well. Has anyone heard of the Ecuadorian painter Guyasamin?

    Annie from FRFI