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UK police violently detain pro-Palestine students at Oxford University

Pro-Palestinian supporters set up a camp at Oxford University, Britain, May 7, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

More than a dozen students have been arrested at Oxford University after British police cracked down a pro-Palestine protest.

A group of students, members of Oxford Action for Palestine, launched a peaceful sit-in on Thursday morning in the Wellington Square office building to demand the administration to agree for negotiation.

However, the group said that instead of engaging in a dialogue with them, the university placed the building under lockdown and called the police.

"When informed of the threat of arrest, the students willingly stood up and voluntarily offered to vacate the premises," it said in a statement

"In an escalatory move, all students were arrested and their phones were confiscated, taking away their ability to record or film from inside."

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

Speaking at the scene, Oxford politics student Kendall Gardner said police had dragged students out of the way. "We've been met with extreme violence and hostility."

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. Others were then filmed being pushed to the floor and dragged by their coats. Police confirmed 16 people have been arrested.

Dozens of 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.

"We intend to remain until the administration agrees to negotiate with our coalition, which has called on the university to end its enabling of Israel's genocide, occupation, and ongoing colonization of Palestine," the group's statement said.

For the past two weeks, Oxford students have launched protests and an encampment, demanding the university end investments in and partnerships with companies and institutions involved in Israel's war on Gaza, and its occupation of Palestinian land.

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