Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Protesters marched on International Workers’ Day against Gaza war

Protestors marched through central Oxford opposing the war in Gaza, on May 1st, International Workers’ Day.

Passers-by were met with chants of:“From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”, and “UK government, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide”, as well as, “From the belly of the beast, hands off the middle of the east”, and “F*ck Joe Biden”.

The march moved through Radcliff Square and up Cornmarket Street before eventually settling outside the Carfax Tower. 

Upon reaching Cornmarket Street, a passer-by told protesters to “shut up [and] f*ck off”,  before he attempted to grab at a sign from a protester. The police swiftly removed him and held him to the side.

Representatives from the National Education Union, the University and College Union, the Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association, and the Oxford Palestine Solidarity Campaign were present. 

Daniel Knorr, an Oxford biochemistry student, stated: “We’ve had a big march in solidarity with the people of Palestine. We’re now having a rally where trade union representatives and political party representatives are making […] talks and speeches in solidarity with Palestine. It’s a genocide what’s happening and we need to be out on the streets […] every day showing that business as usual is not acceptable.” 

Knorr has previously been arrested for spraying the Radcliffe Camera with orange paint as part of a Just Stop Oil protest last October.

There was a discussion from speakers about protests from last week outside Nancy Pelosi’s talk at the Oxford Union. On April 25, two members of Youth Demand entered the Oxford Union’s debate floor and interrupted the speaker’s address. The two protesters held Palestinian flags in front of Pelosi for the duration of her speech.

Alexis McGivern, Net Zero Integrity Manager at Oxford Net Zero, spoke on the relevance of historical protests which have used similar methods and achieved success. 

She likened the protests sweeping US campuses  to those which opposed the Vietnam War and South African Apartheid. 

She continued to explain the importance of the academic community standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza, in light of the fact that “all 12 universities [in Gaza] have been bombed or damaged.”

McGivern also called for the University to disclose their investments rather than, she argued, hide them under the “guise of commercially sensitive information”, as well as divesting from companies linked to the war in Gaza.

“Never let up pressure on this university…until it stands on the right side of history,” said McGivern. 

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Image Description: Protesters near Radcliffe Camera