THE School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was occupied yesterday in solidarity with the Palestinian masses of Gaza who are under murderous attack by Israel.
News Line spoke to a member of the SOAS occupation Marienna Pope-Weidemann who said: ‘The occupation rose out of the huge lobby of the Israeli embassy last Wednesday (14th) and the follow up demonstration on Saturday.
‘There was a big SOAS presence there, there is a lot of concern among students about the Palestinian cause and the bombing of Gaza.
‘I am disgusted by Israel’s aggression it fills me with a repulsive feeling, reminding me of Operation Cast Lead in 2008.
‘On Monday night at the general meeting of the Student Union we put forward an emergency motion for occupation.
‘The motion was moved by the president of the SOAS Stop the War society Sam Dathe and a member of our Palestinan student Society.
‘About 300 people attended the meeting and the vote was nearly unanimous.
‘I believe students have an obligation to hold our government to account.
‘Palestine has been turned into a borderline apartheid state.
‘Israel is backed by British and American imperialism.
‘Imperialism is entwined with the forces of capital and so our enemy is the same as the Palestinan people.
‘We want the same thing as the Palestinian people, the freedom to live our lives and have a future.
‘We can’t withdraw our labour and strike like workers, but what we can do is occupy.
‘Students must be at the forefront of the struggle to defend Palestine, occupations must be spread everywhere.’
This is the mesage that SOAS students will be taking to the NUS mass demonstration today in London.
Up to 100,000 students are due to march today to demand the quashing of tuition fees and the restoration of free state education.
UCU president Kathy Taylor will tell them that students and staff must keep up their fight against the government.
Speaking at today’s rally in Kennington Park, after the central London march, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), Taylor is to say: ‘This is a government that does not understand the needs and fears of ordinary people; yet claims we are all in it together.
‘In the first year of this coalition government, the richest 1,000 people in Britain increased their collective wealth by 18%.
‘Over the same period the government introduced measures which increased the number of children living in poverty by nearly one million.
‘The government’s response has been to move the goalposts and redefine child poverty – doing absolutely nothing to tackle the problem.
‘Students and staff need to keep up the fight against the government’s pernicious policies.’
She will conclude: ‘The two constants in college and university life are students and staff. Us and our values will endure long after the current crop of politicians, who are so determined to destroy them, have gone.’
Young Socialist secretary Joshua Ogenleye told News Line: ‘Students must occupy in support of the Palestinians and for the abolition of tuition fees.
‘We must demand that the TUC calls a general strike. The only regime change must be here. Cameron must be brought down and a workers government and socialism brought in!’