The group is calling for the University to divest from "genocide" in IsraelChristopher Lorde for Varsity

Cambridge students have set up an encampment outside King’s College, calling for the University to cut its investments in “genocide” and demanding a meeting with the vice-chancellor.

The action comes after weeks of protests in American universities, with dozens of students arrested at the University of Virginia this morning.

The encampment has been organised by Cambridge for Palestine (C4P), who demand that the University disclose its holdings in companies with ties to the Israel-Gaza conflict and divest from such organisations.

The action is taking place in collaboration with encampments at other universities such as Oxford, which has been backed by over 100 academics.

C4P held a rally at the encampment later this afternoon, which was attended by around 250 people and included speakers from both Oxford and Cambridge UCU.

In a joint statement, the two union branches called for Oxbridge to “take immediate action in response to the demands of staff and students to end investments in, and collaborative research and procurement contracts with, companies and academic institutions funding and supplying weapons to the Israeli military or enabling Israel’s violations of international law through the crimes of apartheid and genocide”.

The rally at the encampment was attended by around 250 peopleChristopher Lorde

Chants at the protest included “From the river, to the sea”, and “Israel bombs, Cambridge pays, how many kids have you killed today?”.

A spokesperson for the protest told Varsity that Oxbridge is “complicit in Israel’s genocide, occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine”.

Around thirty tents were set up on King’s Parade outside the College, when the action began early this morning. These include a study tent and an emergency toilet, with banner-making and food areas also created on the site.

The group has not yet spoken to police or porters at King’s College, Varsity understands.

The group includes a negotiation team which has drawn up a list of demands which they intend to discuss with the vice-chancellor in an “open forum”.

The encampment was set up at around 6:30 this morningChristopher Lorde for Varsity

But, the group will not step back until “practical changes” are made by the University. “We won’t rest until our demands are met,” they said.

When asked whether student activists would miss their exams to remain in the encampment, they said: “That’s up to the students themselves, but we want to be concentrating on Palestinian students and Palestinians.”

“How can we continue to study and work here in Cambridge while our tuition fees go towards murdering schoolchildren,” they asked.

Alongside its divestment demands, the group is calling on the University to invest in rebuilding Palestinian universities, and to offer “sanctuary” to “students at risk” from the conflict.


Mountain View

Students protest Trinity open day over Israel ties

One tourist observing the encampment told Varsity that they support action calling for divestment from Israel, while another said that action against universities is “[getting] out of hand”.

Cambridge has seen repeated protests against the University’s alleged ties to Israel since October last year. In recent weeks, Trinity College has come under concerted pressure from students, since it was handed a legal notice by a UK human rights group over its reported investments in Elbit systems, Israel’s largest arms manufacturer.

A University spokesperson told Varsity: “The University is fully committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law and we acknowledge the right to protest. We ask everyone in our community to treat each other with understanding and empathy. Our priority is the safety of all staff and students.”

“We will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia and any other form of racial or religious hatred, or other unlawful activity,” they said.