The action comes after a third demonstration saw hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators march in the heart of Cambridge last weekDaniel Hilton

Pro-Palestinian student activists disrupted Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing this morning, as part of ongoing pressure on the university to “sever financial ties” to Israel.

Several masked students entered the building, covering its floors with pro-divestment material, and shouting through megaphones that they “cannot stand idle” as the Institute “basks in blood money” from partnerships with “companies complicit in Israel’s bombing of Gaza”.

The activists, corresponding with Varsity under the pseudonym "FromRiverToSea", said they wanted the Institute for Manufacturing and the Cambridge Service Alliance to cut all "financial and research ties" with corporations "supporting apartheid and the ongoing genocide of Palestinians”.

The phrase "From the River to the Sea" has been the subject of controversy in the UK.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has instructed the police and crime commissioners that it could amount to a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence, but student protestors have repeatedly chanted it at demonstrations staged in the heart of Cambridge over the last month. 

The targeting of the Department of Engineering is the latest example of pro-Palestinian advocates extending divestment demands from financial investments to research partnerships. 

The Department of Engineering’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) integrates University “research and education” with “practical application in industry”, while its Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA) offers a “unique partnership” to some of the world’s largest companies.

Both have been coming under scrutiny since over 1600 students and staff demanded that Cambridge “assess and sever financial ties with Israel” in a letter delivered to the vice-chancellor last month.

Pro-Palestinian student societies have named Israeli armoured vehicle manufacturer Plasan and more well known corporations like Boeing, BAE Systems, and Caterpillar as organisations that should be included in any potential university evaluation.


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According to the masked protesters, companies to be targeted  should include those involved in "manufacturing, maintaining, or trading any system components used to kill people in Gaza".

Industrial partners in the Cambridge Service Alliance have included Caterpillar and BAE systems, the latter of which was a founding member, and both corporations feature in the CSA's current promotional material.

However, the University told Varsity that the CSA has not worked with either company for several years, while declining to comment on claims made about the Institute for Manufacturing.

This morning's activism is the latest example of mounting pro-Palestinian pressure on campus, after the Palestine Solidarity Society (PalSoc) called the university’s refusal to “seriously engage” with divestment demands evidence of “institutional complicity in genocide”.