The encampment on the lawn of the Queens’ Building © Social Streets CIC
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Students respond to Queen Mary University court case against pro-Palestinian encampment by launching crowdfunder

While Queen Mary University of London awaits the court date for a possession order to close the pro-Palestine encampment, students have launched a crowdfunder to cover the legal costs.

On June 7th the pro-Palestine student encampment at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) went to the high court over a possession order issued the previous day. If it goes through, the order will mean that the encampment members are given legal and enforceable notice to leave. 

The encampment has been up since the 13th of May. Members are demanding changes to QMUL’s policies, including divestments of funds connected to Israel and a boycott of Israeli universities.

The encampment has since started negotiations with QMUL management, with the first meeting held on the 27 of June.

On the first court date, the order was adjourned by the end of the day, meaning an official decision wasn’t reached. This means the encampment has been able to stay up until now, including for QMUL’s June Open Day events for prospective students.

Since then, a new court date for the encampment has been set for July 10th. Members of the encampment are fundraising to cover legal costs. As of writing, over £16,000 had been donated to the fundraiser, with a goal of £20,000.

A post by encampment organisers on Instagram said:  ‘By taking costly legal proceedings against young people in full-time education, [QMUL] think the cost of our case will push us to concede on divestment demands, and to pack up our tents.’

The encampment is still active, with several rallies planned in the lead-up to the court case.

At the time the possession order was served, a spokesperson from Queen Mary University of London said:

‘The serious nature of the health and safety risks has given us no option but to take legal action to disperse the camp.’ 

On June 17th, the London School of Economics was the first British university to evict its pro-Palestine student encampment. The universities of Nottingham and Birmingham also have pending court cases against their encampments. The verdict of the case against QMUL’s encampment could impact how similar cases are ruled in the future.

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