Students occupy the Stuart Hall building at Goldsmiths University in London

Students have occupied university buildings as part of a day of action for Palestine. At Goldsmiths in south London, students occupied the Stuart Hall building on Tuesday to demand action from management over Palestine.

Elsewhere students at Leeds university occupied their university union building. And in central London, students from UCL and Soas marched, chanting, “Shame,” and calling out management’s complicity and silence over Israel’s genocide.

Students at City and Queen Mary universities in London also walked out and held protests. From the occupation at Goldsmiths, student Samira told Socialist Worker, “We are officially in occupation. 

“We had a walkout earlier and a teach out. And now we want our demands to be addressed by Frances Corner, our university’s warden.

“It’s really exciting being here. It’s real action and democracy. Our university has shut down discussion about Palestine. But we’ve taken over a building to say we need to have the space to talk about winning liberation for Palestine.”

Samira said that after the walk out, security almost didn’t let the students back in. “We made sure that didn’t happen,” she added.

“We stayed in the building and those that were still here voted to occupy. Our demand is that we’re addressed by Corner here in our occupation.”

Students, along with UCU union members and other outside speakers, organised the teach-out. It included discussion on Palestine, apartheid, violence against women and Western imperialism in the Middle East.

Over 30 students are now in the occupation, and many more joined the action earlier in the day. During the walk-out students chanted, “Goldsmith students it’s our time, shut it down for Palestine.”

“We’ve put a call out for support and more students to join us,” Samira said. “The UCU members are also putting a call out, and we’re asking for support from local unions and activists.” 

The students have also asked for solidarity in the form of food, bedding and supplies. “We’re now drafting a statement to get students and staff to sign. We’re not leaving until our demands are met,” she added.

The occupation follows students storming a management meeting last Wednesday chanting, “Free Palestine”. They called-out management’s hypocrisy—and promised to escalate action if management didn’t respond.  

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“We received a response, which was a victory. But all it did was call for a humanitarian ceasefire—no mention of a genocide, the university’s complicity or protecting students. It wasn’t good enough—so we escalated,” Samira said.

Samira says that the scale of Israel’s violence requires militant escalation from students. “The situation in Rafah means all actions need to be more radical and more militant.

“As students at a university that is meant to represent social justice, we need to call out its hypocrisy and shut it down. It’s been four months and there’s been complete inaction from management—we need to for their hands.”

More occupations, militant action and joint student and worker action is crucial in the fight against Israel and its backers.

Send messages of support to @GoldsmithsForPalestine on Instagram, Sign the support letter here

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