Students at one of the U.K.’s top universities staged demonstrations Wednesday after being denied access because of security concerns during a visit by the queen.
Students at King’s College London (KCL) university had their student cards deactivated and were barred from attending classes and taking exams Tuesday due to their pro-Palestinian activism on campus.
“Had an exam today and being the studious guy I am showed up an hour early only to find my card was blocked and I couldn’t get in the building, is the queen visiting a good enough reason for potentially preventing a student sitting a COMPULSORY test???” one student wrote on Twitter.
The queen’s visit and the ban of student activists came one day into the annual Israeli Apartheid Week, an event to raise awareness of the illegal Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It also helps raise support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.
According to Action Palestine and KCL Justice4Cleaners, a Palestinian society and a fair-wage campaign for cleaning staff at the university, 10 students have come forward and claimed they were banned from entering the university and from using its services.
"The students affected by this are all core organizers of campaigns that have established themselves as effective, successful and resistant to university apathy and reaction” the two groups said in a statement.
“Despite KCL regularly referring to itself as an institution of progressive values, in reality they would rather wall-off the campus to all those who dare to challenge violence and injustice promoted by the University” it added.
The university issued a statement that said due to the nature of the visit by the queen, the highest level of security was prioritized and only some of the buildings were closed off to access. The affected students argue, however, they were unable to enter any of the campuses.
Students also staged a protest Wednesday against what they call the “securitization of university” and censoring of student activism especially in regards to the BDS movement and Palestinian support.
At the University of Sheffield in north England, students staged demonstrations to protest that institution’s links to companies complicit in aiding the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.
The students also called for the university and the city of Sheffield to join the BDS movement and refrain from conducting business with companies and projects that have economic ties to Israel and that have been listed on the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment list.
"Most Palestinian students, including myself, feel alienated to learn that our universities have links with arms companies profiting from ongoing Israeli crimes against our people. Israel has been bombing, killing, maiming, expelling, dispossessing and imprisoning the Palestinian people before the whole world, with impunity and without accountability” one activist told The New Arab newspaper.
Demonstrators marched through the university and the city center, holding large banners and chanting slogans to raise awareness of the injustices committed by Israel and to support the BDS movement.
"This protest demonstrates the support for the divest and decolonize movement on campus. We demand that our universities end their complicity in social and environmental injustices across the world" one student said.
"Our money shouldn’t be used to fund human suffering and we must resist the unjust systems of exploitation and oppression" she added.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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