Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Just Stop Oil and Palestine protests at Oxford Labour fundraiser

On the 23rd of February, a fundraising event by Labour MP Anneliese Dodds taking place in Cowley was met with protests from various activist groups, including Just Stop Oil (JSO) and other organisations in support of Palestine.

Anneliese Dodds is a Labour MP for Oxford East since 2017, and is also Chair of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities. 

The protest started around 6.15, with various demonstrators holding pro-Palestine signs and wearing JSO high-vis jackets. Protesters were blocking the pavement, and around 10 police officers were initially present on scene. 

Chants included “Labour Party you can’t hide you’re supporting genocide”, repeated with “Keir Starmer” and “Anneliese Dodds”, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, Israeli apartheid has to fall”, “Resistance is justified when people are occupied”, and “Israel, UK, USA: how many kids did you kill today?”.

Dodds was heckled when she arrived around half an hour later, with protesters chanting “shame on you” and being instructed by police officers to stop banging the barriers outside the restaurant. The number of protesters grew to over 40, with a little under 15 police officers on site.

Just Stop Oil protester chants “Stop Tory Oil” were quickly drowned out by pro-Palestine chants, with passerby disapproving JSO and telling them to “grow up.” An Oxford student from JSO then made a speech, saying he was here in “solidarity” with the other campaigns.

He stated that the Labour party were “cowards” for “watching a genocide unfold in Gaza”, and that “everybody in the Labour leadership is cowardly spineless or pure evil.” He demanded that Dodds calls for immediate ceasefire, that Labour calls for an arms embargo on Israel, that Labour commit to restoring the £28bn green pledge it had cut two weeks ago, and that Labour commit to revoking oil and gas licences.

Around 8pm, two student protesters inside the restaurant stoop up on tables, holding a Just Stop Oil banner and a Palestinian flag respectively. The demonstrators then spoke to Dodds and the police, and left the restaurant a few minutes later, joining the protest outside.

The protesters reportedly handed a letter with claims from JSO to Dodds, and one of them said “​​We know that all genocide is interlinked. We know that all this human suffering is interlinked and we have to stand up against it.”

Dodds then attempted to calm the protesters down, saying ‘‘we say we don’t want any new licences” and that she was ‘‘really happy to have a chat’’ with them.

Dodds accepted the letter from the protesters which was handed to her by a police officer saying “Just give me the letter”, to which a demonstrator replied “Can we have a conversation about this at some point? That would be really helpful. Thank you.”

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Image Description: protesters outside the restaurant