Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested as police disrupt demo at Oxford university

Police have interrupted a pro-Palestinian protest in Oxford after student demonstrators organised a peaceful sit-in at a university office building.

pro-palestinian protesters arrested as police disrupt demo at oxford university

Pic: Oxford Action for Palestine

Footage posted online by the Oxford Action for Palestine group showed police pushing protesters from the steps of the admin office building in Wellington Square after a group of students staged a demonstration in vice chancellor Irene Tracey's office.

pro-palestinian protesters arrested as police disrupt demo at oxford university

Protesters gather outside university building

One student was seen being carried out of the building on a stretcher by four officers and put into the back of a police van. It is not thought the person was injured.

Others were then filmed being pushed to the floor and dragged by their coats as they sat on the road outside the office building appearing to block a police van.

Police confirmed 16 people have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass. One of the 16 has also been arrested on suspicion of common assault.

A group of around 75 students later gathered outside a building where the heads of all university colleges were meeting, demanding that leaders negotiate with the group and those who have been arrested be released.

"It is evident that the administration would rather arrest, silence, and physically assault its own students than confront its enabling of Israel's genocide in Gaza," a statement from the group on X said.

Thames Valley Police said: "In addition to these arrests we dealt with protesters in the immediate vicinity of Wellington Square. Elements of this protest sought to obstruct the removal of the persons arrested. These protests have been peaceful and no arrests were made.

"We are still managing a small peaceful protest in the city.

"We're also aware of footage circulating on social media, which show our officers using lawful, proportionate and necessary action in the difficult circumstances they faced."

Wave of student protests

The demonstration was part of the ongoing protests against the war in Gaza by students across the US and Europe.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Joe Biden have denied what is going on in the country is genocide.

Mr Netanyahu also remained committed to continue the military action that began after the Hamas attack on 7 October.

Thames Valley Police said this morning it was "aware of an ongoing protest at Oxford University".

It said it was in contact with the university and urged anyone with concerns to speak to officers in the area.

On 6 May a "liberated zone encampment" was set up outside the Pitt Rivers Museum in the university city.

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Students listed six demands - including for the university to demand closure of all university-wide financial assets that benefit Israel - and claimed they would not leave until all were met.

According to the Oxford for Palestine organisation, other demands include: divest university-wide assets, overhaul investment policy, boycott institutional relationships, drop Barclays bank and rebuild and reinvest.

Similar encampments are also still in place at Cambridge University and have been seen in cities including Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Dublin and Leeds.

The University of Oxford has not commented but has previously said it "respects our students and staff members rights to freedom of expression in the form of peaceful protests" but said the establishment is "no place for intolerance".

Sky News has contacted the University of Oxford for further comment.

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