Oxford University threatens court action over pro-Gaza protests

The UK’s Oxford University has threatened court action against pro-Palestine protesters who have set up an encampment on site.

The university said the encampment, which is located around the Radcliffe Camera, must be removed by 7 July.

The protesters have set up the encampment to call for a Gaza ceasefire and for the university to sever all financial ties with Israel and be transparent over its investment policies.

An open letter addressed to Oxford Action for Palestine says the university “recognises the importance of peaceful protest” as well as “deeply felt concerns” about the situation between Israel and Gaza, however said the encampment and forced entry into certain areas were “totally unacceptable”.

“The university now gives notice that it intends to close the encampment around the Radcliffe Camera. You are instructed to disband the camps and vacate the land in accordance with the enclosed notice,” the letter continues.

The letter calls on protesters to vacate the area, adding if the camps are not disbanded by midnight on 7 July, the university will apply to the courts for a possession order.

Oxford Action for Palestine has for weeks been urging the university to disclose and divest any links they have to Israel. They have also urged the university to contribute to the rebuilding of educational institutions which have been destroyed in the besieged enclave.

Other encampments, including one outside the Museum of Natural History in Oxford, have already been dismantled, with the university fencing off the area. Other encampments cropped up at universities around the UK last month, including at the University of Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Protesters have accused the university of repressing their voices.

“In the midst of this fencing-in, members of OA4P were threatened with disciplinary action and had limited access to bathroom facilities. Now, the university turns its attention towards our Liberated Zone at the Radcliffe Camera,” the group said in a statement.

The encampment at Oxford University comes amidst Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, which has so far killed at least 37,834 Palestinians and wounded 86,858 since October.

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