Pro-Palestinian students held an ‘Apartheid Off Campus’ rally to challenge the University’s ties with unethical companies.
Students from Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield marched for the advocacy of human rights in Palestine and to drive ‘Apartheid Off Campus’.
The national rally was organized by Palestinian societies with protests held across 30 campuses in the UK, held to coincide with the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which will take place today, Friday 29 November.
Marching from Hallam Square to the University of Sheffield campus, protesters urged divestment from, and sanctions for, the state of Israel by pressuring universities to sever relationships with companies linked to Israel.
Yazan Khader, President of the Palestianian Society at Sheffield Students’ Union, said: “This day is a UN commemoration day. It’s not just to stop these companies’ ties with Israel but it is to stand against the atrocities and murder of Palestinian people. At the end of the day people are dying, we must stand in solidarity with Gaza and Palestine.
“UK universities must stop normalising relations with any regime of racism, oppression and dispossession of indigenous people where our tuition fees are being used for. They should not make ties with corporations or institutions complicit in the denial of rights to Palestinians and arming Apartheid regimes.”
Starting at Hallam Square from 12.00pm, the march made its way to the concourse outside the SU as protesters chanted “Free Palestine”.
Abdel-Halim Hussain, a student at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I’m here as a student activist but first and foremost as a human being.
“I want to be a proud member of an institution that doesn’t just openly condemn the violation of human rights of any kind under international law, but publicly declares itself as apartheid-free.”
Addressing concerns over their partnerships, a spokesperson from the University of Sheffield said: “The University of Sheffield supports the rights of students to raise awareness of issues that are important to them and we regularly meet with student representatives to hear and discuss views, positions and policies.
“We have a wide range of research, development and learning partnerships that work to further innovation, provide opportunities for students and find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. We regularly review our partnerships in-line with our Code of Ethics and have a rigorous governance procedure in place to monitor and evaluate our partnerships. ”
In September, a motion was passed by Sheffield City Council to recognise Palestine as a country, making Sheffield one of the first UK cities to do so.