On Monday, October 9th, The SOAS Palestine Society & the student community held a rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza in their struggle against the occupation. Hundreds of students joined the demonstration at SOAS, as millions joined similar demonstrations around the world on the same day. The rally began on the steps of the main building, where rallies have historically been held at SOAS, and later safely moved to the green space opposite the main building, when a fire alarm sounded and the main building was evacuated. Needless to say, no Palestine Society member was in any way responsible for the alarm sounding.
On Thursday, October 12th, a number of students were suspended following the rally. This action severely impacts the ability of students to continue their education. On Friday October 13th, members of the Palestine Society that were not present at the rally were issued formal warnings through disciplinaries by the university, demonstrating this is a targeted act of political repression against the Palestine Society. We resolutely condemn this act of repression and silencing, and call on SOAS management to stop participating in the widespread efforts to suppress Palestinian solidarity organizing designed to hide the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.
We extend our full solidarity to the thousands of Palestinians killed in Gaza. The violence they are being subjected to is incomparable in scale and severity to any sort of state repression or violence that we may face in the UK. Therefore, we feel a moral imperative to organize against the imperialist and Zionist forces on our campus. We call on the students, academics, and workers to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and defend freedom of speech and the right to express solidarity on campus.
1) Drop all disciplinary proceedings against those involved in the protest
2) Revoke the formal warnings given to Palestine Society Committee members
3) Re-establish the right to protest on the steps of the main building, the historic center of activism on campus
We call upon the Student Union to advocate on behalf of students' right to protest and pressure the University to meet these demands.
The SOAS Palestine Society
We the undersigned support the SOAS Palestine Society in their demands made of Management and the Student Union: