York Launches Encampment

An encampment for Palestine has appeared in front of Heslington Hall

 On Wednesday morning an encampment was launched in front of Heslington Hall to show continued solidarity with Palestine. 

The encampment launch coincides with the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, the day which marks the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. 

The group has spoken about their reasoning for the encampment, “we are seeing another Nakba unfold before our very eyes.” 

As part of the encampment the group is demanding that the University cuts ties with the arms trade, supports Gaza’s education sector, provides scholarships for Palestinian students, provides a statement condemning genocide, and provides support for York alum Fada Hania and his family who became refugees after fleeing Gaza last month. 

The York Encampment comes after a month of blossoming encampments across the United States and later the United Kingdom. Violence from both police and counter-protesters has been evidenced across United States encampment, however British encampments have generally remained less volatile. 

An anonymous member of the encampment, and student at the University of York, said: “We call on the university to meet our demands and to actively support Palestinian liberation, as a supposed institution for public good and University of Sanctuary we have a responsibility to support the people of Palestine.” 

Another member of the encampment said: “It’s appalling that in this day and age, academic institutions fund and support a genocide that has seen the brutal death of thousands as well as the decimation of countless Universities in Palestine.”

YUSU President Pierrick Roger made the following statement:

“I’ve had a chance to visit the encampment which was welcoming and remained in direct contact with the organisers. As a Students’ Union, we will always support students’ right to peacefully protest and have been ensuring that protestor’s basic needs, including access to water and facilities, are met. We have been in talks with the University pre-encampment on many of the encampment’s demands and we will continue fostering an environment of dialogue on these important issues.”

Although the University of York has announced divestment from companies that primarily invest in arms, the encampment claims that the University has not committed to cutting ties with the Israeli apartheid scheme. The encampment is one of over 30 at universities across the UK as well as more around the world, as students call upon their institutions to cut ties with Israeli arms companies and support Palestinians. 

These encampments often advocate for peace and coexistence, establishing camps in prominent university locations in order to put physical pressure on the University and advertise a message of peace, hope and resistance.  

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