Oxford: Police move in after pro-Palestinian protesters sit-in at university building

Police have interrupted a pro-Palestinian protest in Oxford after student demonstrators organised a peaceful sit-in at a university office building.

Footage posted online by the Oxford Action for Palestine group showed police pushing protesters from the steps of the admin office building in Wellington Square after a group of students staged a demonstration in vice chancellor Irene Tracey's office.

One student was seen being carried out of the building on a stretcher by four officers and put into the back of a police van. It is not thought the person was injured.

Others were then filmed being pushed to the floor and dragged by their coats as they sat on the road outside the office building appearing to block a police van.

The campaign group said 16 student protesters have been arrested since they began the sit-in at 8am Thursday morning, but this has not been confirmed by police.

A group of around 75 students later gathered outside a building where the heads of all university colleges were meeting, demanding that leaders negotiate with the group and those who have been arrested be released.

"It is evident that the administration would rather arrest, silence, and physically assault its own students than confront its enabling of Israel's genocide in Gaza," a statement from the group on X said.

Wave of student protests

The demonstration was part of the ongoing protests against the war in Gaza by students across the US and Europe.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Joe Biden have denied what is going on in the country is genocide.

Mr Netanyahu also remained committed to continue the military action that began after the Hamas attack on 7 October.

Thames Valley Police said in a statement that it was "aware of an ongoing protest at Oxford University this morning".

It said it was in contact with the university and urged anyone with concerns to speak to officers in the area.

On 6 May a "liberated zone encampment" was set up outside the Pitt Rivers Museum in the university city.

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Students listed six demands - including for the university to demand closure of all university-wide financial assets that benefit Israel - and claimed they would not leave until all were met.

According to the Oxford for Palestine organisation, other demands include: divest university-wide assets, overhaul investment policy, boycott institutional relationships, drop Barclays bank and rebuild and reinvest.

Similar encampments are also still in place at Cambridge University and have been seen in cities including Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Dublin and Leeds.

The University of Oxford has not commented but has previously said it "respects our students and staff members rights to freedom of expression in the form of peaceful protests" but said the establishment is "no place for intolerance".

Sky News has contacted the University of Oxford for further comment.