Friday, 27 February 2009

end of day 10

Today we had a presentation from Naomi Idrissi Wimborne from Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. In the afternoon we had a film showing from the people from Reel News, saw some films about the January demos against the Israeli attack on Gaza, fellow students in occupation and the Black Panthers. Afterwards we spoke to the directors, who told us about the campaigns they are involved in. Hopefully they will be coming back to film our meeting on Monday.

We have been building for Monday, letting as many people as possible know about Dr Tamimi coming to visit us, some of the occupiers were invited to give out leaflets at Friday prayers.

We’re trying to make Monday as big as possible and really make our presence felt on campus so make sure you come along and tell everyone you know!
Day 09,

Day 9 was packed with interesting meetings. Phil Marfleet (Uel lecturer) and Anan AL-Quds (Action Palestine) spoke on the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

Ken Olende and Jeansy Kazadi (UEL Congolese Society) spoke on the war in Congo. They emphasised that this war is not an 'ethnic' conflict, contrary to popular belief, but rather a war for control and access to DR Congo's vast natural resources. The Patrice Lumumba Society was set up by UEL student Sohrob Kamali to campaign against and raise awareness of imperialism in the DR Congo and worldwide. It is hoped that the occupation for Gaza at UEL will lead people to become more interested and active against other injustices around the world.

Finally, the UEL Samba band entertained in the evening.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Uel Occupation day Eight

It's been eventful, It's been stressful.But hope is all we have left. Three delegates attended the, another education is possible, march where they networked and spoke to many other students about how they went about with their occupations and basically how to step up the organization of occupations and to build them to be stronger. We had a successful film viewing of 'not in our name' directed by Phill Maxwell. Where we had a question and answers session with the director. We learnt that this film was made over a six year period and showed images of how people expressed they're opinions about war through creativity and art.We had two speakers from "The friends of CAIS MALOKA" who talked about helping others "Build the international school for bottom-up organising". All in it's been a positive day apart from the minor set back in the morning. One of our achievements today was, obtaining new support from the student body, it helps us to work harder knowing that people are slowly realising why this occupation needs to carry on building. p.s well done to LCC for occupying and achieving what they did our delegates were very interested when vising this university and happy that they had made a difference.

Betty Hunter emails us!

Dear friends and comrades at UEL,

We salute your actions in support of the Palestinian people and would like to do all we can to support you.

In solidarity

Betty Hunter
General Secretary
Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Fire Alarm Drama

at 8am today we were rudely awoken by the fire alarm. We immedietly all agreed that we would not leave the building unless we witnessed the flames ourselves. Security tried to get us out of the building but we would not move. we saw this as a blatent attempt to remove us and we would not comply. Surprise surpise there was no fire.

after recieving a lecture from fire officials we were then told that we still had to vacate the building to ensure they had made the building secure. again, we would not move. we were then told that no other person could enter the building again until we had left. this led to Alan Lingal giving us his word that we could return to the room as soon as the fire officials had made a complete inspection.

although we apologise to all the people we left waiting out in the cold for half an hour, we are completley committed to this cause and will do everything that we can to stay here until our demands are met.

many thanks for your continued support!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

End of day 7...

Today was an emotional day. Our speaker today at from Jews for Justice for Palestinians was extremely informative and inspirational. We were also grateful to Rob from Islingtons Friendship with Palestine for his presentation on the reality of life in Gaza. Such disturbing images of the injustices that Palestinians face everyday boosts our determination to do what we can in addressing such gross violations of human morals, as well as international law.

Meeting the VC and a number of the deans of schools this morning received a seemingly positive response, but with few concrete successes. Following this meeting it was decided that we shall remain in Occupation until we can claim real victory.
We cannot lose sight of why it is we are doing this. We want to make a difference to those living in the Gaza Strip, the open air prison that it is. We know that our actions are extremely meaningful for Palestinians. By standing in solidarity with them they can be assured that not everyone in this world has forgotten about them, or ignores the injustices that they face everyday.

Our demands will not be decided upon by the board of governors (the powers that be) until next tuesday. We intent to stay here until then, and we are going to up our campaign. We need much more support in order to this.

Please all do whatever you can...
- invite your friends of facebooks to our events and our groups
- write an email to our VC Susan Price at stating your support for us and our demands
- come and say hello to us in our liberated space EB.1.04
- help us out on our stall in the atrium everyday between 9-5
- come to our daily events at and which are always extremely inspirational and informative

We welcome the news that LLC and Cardiff have initiated occupations in solidarity with Palestinians. Together we are stronger.

In solidarity,

UEL Occupiers

Monday, 23 February 2009

End of Day Six

End of day six.
At 1pm we had a very intesting discussion on the history of palestine delivered by a local lecturer from Newham College. We have also managed to have a very sucessful meeting with a great turnout of 50 people at our 5pm meeting. The support is overwhelming and welcomed. We had a number of speakers that included John Rees (Stop the War officr), Dr Geremy Gilbert (UEL Lecture), Fran Legg (President of Queen Mary's Stop the War society). The session was inspiring and only cemented our feelings towards continuing the occupation until all of our demands are met. The cause is one worth of such actions and we have been inspired to continue doing what we are doing. We hope that everyone that has supported us shares their feelings and experience of the occupation with others in order to raise awareness, we need everyone to continue supporting us and hope that we are able to truly make a change to the people of palestine.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

End of day 5

Following a busy day of organising and preparing for the coming week we are winding down our 5th day of occupying.
It has been a great weekend, with a steady number of new faces coming to visit as well as fellow student occupiers from Queen Mary, Manchester, Sussex, and Cambridge.
Just a quick reminder to please email our acting VC Susan Price on and let her know of your support for us.
We are excited to have John Rees and Phil Maxwell visiting us tomorrow at 5pm - please all come along it should be a great evening!
Much appreciation to all those who have come to visit us - especially all those armed with huge pans of hot food!
Hope to see you all tomorrow.


Message of support from University of Gaza

Dear fellow students of UEL University,

We would like to express our sincere thanks and deep appreciation for all your conscious efforts, endeavours and demands to support the right to education, justice and freedom in Palestine.

We wholeheartedly support your peaceful protests against the blanket bombing of Gaza in general and the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in particular which suffered extensive destruction and damage to all its buildings, academic facilities. Additionally more than 20,000 students, whose families have been agonizing from the suffocating siege of Gaza, have lost some members of their families and many others have lost their houses.

With great respect and admiration, we have been following all activities taking place in 21 British universities. Your brave campaign has strengthened both our hope and will that we are not alone in this just battle against unprecedented blatant injustices and flagrant violation of human in Palestine.

We are absolutely proud of you all and proud of your solidarity and support campaign for the right to education in Palestine which gives us bright light in the heart of the military occupation darkness.
We wish you full success in your supportive campaign and in achieving all your sensible demands which show a high level of awareness and commitment to defend basic human rights in Gaza at a time of obvious media bias and hypocrisy of many governments.

We hope to cooperate with you soon to establish mutual academic cooperation between our academic institutions. In this regard, we confirm our high interest and strong willingness to provide you with any information, facts, plans, courses, etc related to your practical demands.

In solidarity with UEL university students in Occupation
The Islamic University of Gaza

Saturday, 21 February 2009

End of day four...

Quiet day today in terms of campaigning, its the weekend and the campus is pretty deserted. We’ve been concentrating on contacting the press and drumming up support from other activists and university occupations around the country.

We have a student from the occupation at Cambridge University staying with us over night. We have also sent our press release to The Stratford and Newham express, The Newham Recorder, The Docklands, The Evening Standard, The London Paper, London Lite, Metro, The Guardian, The Independant,, Red Pepper and Indymedia. Hopefully we’ll see some coverage!

We have had two fantastic messages of support (see previous post), one from the Friends of CAIS Maloka and the International School for Bottom up Organising, and one from Noam Chomsky (!).

Once again if you support us and our demands please email Susan Price and let her know. Please keep it polite and respectful at all times.

Tomorrow we have an open mic night ‘Occupy the Mic’ in our occupied space, 5pm in EB.1.04, in celebration of the demands that have been met already and to build support and morale for our meeting with Susan Price and the Vice Chancellor’s Group on Tuesday. Come and join us.

Support from Noam Chomsky

“I am very pleased to learn about the courageous and honorable actions of the UEL students. These are particularly significant because of the crucial British contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza, and on the occupied territories generally, second only to the decisive role of the United States -- a disgrace for all of us. I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these crimes to an end”.

- Noam Chomsky

Message of Solidarity

Greetings to UEL Students Occupying in solidarity with the struggle of Gaza!

We are writing to you as a Collective of Artists, Activists and Organizers called the 'Friends of CAIS Maloka and the International School for Bottom Up Organizing' (ISBO) - sending you a message of solidarity and support!

We are moved and encouraged by your radical organizing and occupations and would love to come and meet with you next week!

Our Collective is comprised of young Radicals from a Latin American Experimental Arts & Activist group - 'New Generation' (two of whom are at UEL at present). Two of our comrades, one who studied with Chris Knight on the Anthropology course at UEL, have returned to Colombia to set up a Social Action and Research Centre (CAIS Maloka) in the rural areas close to Cali. CAIS Maloka is also part of the 'International School for Bottom Up Organizing' (ISBO) as we are, which trains Young Activists in Radical Organizing - working with the people 'on the bottom' to take charge of their own lives and struggles.

Please do get in touch with us and let us know if we can come and meet with you next week - we'd love to come and support you in your Occupation!!

Sending Solidarity and good energy!
the Friends of CAIS Maloka and ISBO Collective

Friday, 20 February 2009

A request to all our supporters...

Just a quick plea to all of you who are in support of our occupation and following our blog to email our acting vice chancellor stating that you unconditionally support our demands and our occupation!

This will be extremely helpful to us, particuarly as we are meeting with the vice chancellors group on Tuesday morning and have to have support from them over our demands.

Our vice chancellor Professor Susan Price can be contacted at and her phone number is 020 822 34159.

Any pressure we can place on them will help us win success on each of our demands.
Please be polite in your emails. It doesn't have to be long - just a clear message that you admire our actions, and believe that the University should meet our demands - and be proud to do so, as so many institutions did in reponse to white South African Apartheid.

Once institutions start taking a political stance in regard to Israeli war crimes and their continued occupation of the Palestinian Territories governments will be forced to re-address their support for the racist and oppressive government of Israel. It is this that will make a real difference to the lives of Palestinians - more so than financial support in many ways. The political situation needs to change and the student occupations in recent weeks have represented the shift in public opinion with regards to Israel's brutal history of supressing Palestinians.

The government of Israel cannot continue to persecute Palestinians for a crime they didn't commit. The holocaust cannot be used to justify and legitimise their oppression of others.

Thank you for all your help, it really does make a difference.

"Our common humanity transcends the oceans and all national boundaries... let it never be asked of us - what did we do when we knew that another was oppressed?"

- Nelson Mandela.

In Solidarity with all of us who strive to make a difference to the injustices in this world.

End of day 3...

Following a mammoth shopping trip in ASDA (whilst of course complaining about the stocking of Israeli goods!) we are having a bit of a relaxing evening following another hectic day. We have so far had our petition supporting our demands and our occupation signed by nearly 1,100 students in just 2 days. This, alongside the unconditional support we have received by the UCU, proves to the university that we are not a minority on campus, or a group of individuals looking to cause trouble. Our passion and determination to get our demands met grows with each minute that the university remains silent over the gross injustices that Palestinians face.

It is great to see new faces in the group and we welcomed a representative from the Human Relief Foundation speaking on the dire situation of the Palestinians. Tonight we have 20 students sleeping here.

Tomorrow we shall be concentrating on contacting the local press, branching out to local unions and other supportive organisations as well as replying to the many messages of support we have received which have been so fantastic to read and to write up on our 'wall of support'. Thank you all.

We spread solidarity to students in other university occupations around the country, we are part of an exciting movement, which can bring about considerable change for Palestinians and the political situation in the Occupied Territories.


Until tomorrow... over and out...

Day 3 - Still going strong...

Our new room has quickly been made into our new home from home. Today we are all busy spreading the word of our occupation, having had to adjust the banners to include the change of room!
We now have 4 out of our 7 demands met, but are going to sit tight until we have every single one guaranteed. We have received an invitation from the VC to attend a meeting of the Vice-Chancellors Group on tuesday morning to explain our demands to them.
So we are continuing our occupation until at least tuesday - and have to keep the momentum going over the weekend. We are organising workshops and film showings for saturday and sunday to make sure that we continue to get new students joining us.
We look forward to our meeting at 5p.m with students from the Sussex and Queen Mary Occupations, as well as a guest speaker from Stop the War Coalition.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Of room changes and other achievements

Generally, today has been very successful and motivating. As mentioned earlier, the outcome of our first round of negotiations has been very positive and we're determined not to give up before the university agree to meet all our demands in support of the people of Palestine.

Also, we have managed to move our occupation to the East Building. This allows us to be much more visible to UEL students, but we're also just underneath the vice chancellor's office and are therefore hoping to increase the pressure on them.
By moving to a smaller room, we are also hoping to conduct our occupation without obstructing any lectures. Therefore, we're expecting even more support from students and staff.

Moreover, in only a couple of hours, more than 500 UEL students have expressed their support by signing our petition. But we have also received an encouraging statement from the UCU Docklands Branch, showing us that our lecturers are behind us. Below is a copy of the letter:

Dear UEL Students in Occupation,

Congratulations on your initiative. We join you in condemning war crimes committed by Israel against the people of Gaza. We strongly support your efforts to bring Palestinian students to UEL, fully supported by this institution.

Our union branch has a long history of support for Palestine and in particular of raising the issue of Boycott, Disinvestments and Sanctions vis-à-vis Israeli insitutions complicit in the Occupation. We draw strength from your own solidarity action and commitment to a Free Palestine.

Many members of the UCU National Executive Committee have offered support to students recently in occupation over Gaza - please see the statement below, issued earlier this month. We are sure that the NEC members would wish to include you in their greetings.

Good luck,

Chris Knight, Chair
Phil Marfleet, Secretary

on behalf of UCU Docklands Branch Committee

19 February 2009

All in all, we're all still highly motivated, although some of us are slightly dishevelled by the lack of sleep.
We're sure we can rely on your support throughout further negotiations. Please, come along, sign our petitions and, most importantly, tell everyone you know about it as well!

Discussions start with the vice-chancellor

Following an invitation from the University administration for 3 representatives from our occupation to attend a meeting with Alan Ingle and Susan Price this morning we have opened discussions on our demands. We made significant progress, but will not be moving until we have recevied written authorisation of every single demand being met. The demand that the University is most hesitant about is the public statement condemning Israels blockade of Gaza and the recent atrocities carried out by Israel on the people of Gaza. For many of us this is in some ways the most important demand and we are determined that this gets met.

Thank you for the continued support, the text messages are greatly appreciated.

Please come to our meeting at today, our guest speaker John Rose is a fantastic speaker on the issue of Justice for Palestine. Following this the film maker Phil Maxwell will be introducing his anti-war film "Not in our name".

Hope to see you all soon!

Day 2 - Police arrive...

Our occupation was visited at 8 o'clock this morning by Alan Ingle accompanied by the police. After a short sleep the 40 students that had stayed for our first night were disturbed and roused into action.

This morning we shall be concentrating on getting our petition supporting our demands and our occupation signed by as many students and staff on campus as possible. We shall also be focusing on promoting our occupation by handing out flyers, marching around the campus etc etc. We are determined to get more students involved, and look forward to any visits (other than those by the police) and support.

Thanks to all those who have sent in messages of support and solidarity from other University Occupations.

Viva Palestina!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

end of day one

Day One is slowly coming to an end and we decided it would be time for a quick update on our progress.

We have had an encouraging wave of support, not only from UEL students and lecturers, but also from members of the Stop the War Society and other universities that have been or still are under occupation for the same cause.

Currently, more than 30 people are in the lecture theatre and we are busy preparing for tomorrow. We are looking to organise film screenings, talks and discussions every day to raise awareness on the issue of Palestine and actively promote our goals.

What we need to keep going, however, is your support. Please come along at any point during the day or night! We need your ideas, your help in handing out flyers around campus and get as many signatures on the petition as possible. We also need you to tell everyone you know about this occupation. Don't forget, by contributing a little of your time, you can make a huge difference for the people of Palestine!

We are very much looking forward to tomorrow, as we have organised brilliant speakers and films!

Timetable for Thursday 19th Day 2 Under Occupation

10.00 organisation meeting for the day
11.00 all occupiers actively promote occupation around campus and get petitions signed
13.00 film showing and lunch
15.00 discussions and debates
17.00 Guest speaker - John Rose on "The Myth of Zionism?"
19.00 organising meeting
19.30 Phil Maxwell, anti-war filmmaker opens his new documentary "Not in our Name"

Our Demands

To the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of East London and any others it may concern

We the student occupation for Palestine demand that the University of East London:

1. Issues a clear statement condemning Israel's blockade of Gaza and the recent atrocities committed against the civilians of Gaza.

2. Immediately divests itself of any and all interests and investments in companies directly or indirectly linked with arms sales to Israel and to make publicly available all UEL current and future investments.

3. Grants five Palestinian students every year full scholarships funded by UEL (similar to the Commonwealth scholarships)

4. Twins itself with the Islamic University of Gaza and provides support for the rebuilding effort following the recent destruction.

5. Provides any surplus equipment to Universities in Gaza i.e. books, computers etc.

6. Authorises, facilitates and promotes an official DEC collection day around campus.

7. Grants free access at all times to all participants in the occupation and takes no reprisals against any participants in the occupation for their actions. We will continue to occupy WB.G.02 until all of our demands are met.
Latest News!

Within hours of our occupation UCU has passed a resolution congratulating the students at UEL in occupying a lecture theatre in relation to their solidarity of Gaza.

Day 1 - UEL Occupation

Due to the recent atrocities and on-going genocide taking place in Gaza it is vital that as the general public we push our demands to our leaders, our government and our hierarchy to show the support of the people of Gaza and condemn the Israeli action against the innocent civilians of Palestine. Therefore it is important that as university students in the United Kingdom we should be at the forefront of supporting the people of Gaza and condemn the Israeli military operation that is continuing the killing of over 1200 innocent Palestinians. So from today, the 18th February 2009, we, the students of the University of East London hereby are in full occupation of a lecture theatre within our university.

After an event organised by Stop the War society in UEL with guest speakers such as Lindsey German (Convenor, Stop The War Coalition) and Professor Haim Bresheeth (Chair, Media & Cultural Studies, UEL) UEL students have immediately decided to get together as university students to support the people of Gaza though the occupation of a lecture theatre. Currently we are drafting a list of demands to put foward to the university. We are also working on getting as much publicity as we can to get the support of all UEL students.

We call on all UEL Students to join our occupation! Support the people of Palestine, support the people of Gaza!