Watch: Students continue pro-Palestine camp at University of Birmingham despite legal action threat

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The University of Birmingham is the first UK university to threaten students with legal action over pro-Palestine protest

Pro-Palestinian protesters threatened with police action by the University of Birmingham after setting up an encampment today (Monday) vowed to stay put.  

Dozens of UK universities have been staging demonstrations after similar anti-Israel camps appeared in the United States.

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Birmingham is believed to be the first to threaten students with legal action if they do not shut down their action. But protesters at the camp in Edgbaston said they did not believe they had broken any laws and vowed to stay put despite facing possible arrest. 

One student, who would only give her name as JJ, said: "We haven't been threatened with aggravated trespassing as of yet. We have had a letter that has been given to us and members of the public to say that they should clear the encampment.

"This is our campus and we intend to be here peacefully and legally and so we've had no communication about any trespassing. We are here for several reasons. We want it disclosed to us, where is our money going?

Students protesting against war in Gaza  have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campusStudents protesting against war in Gaza  have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campus
Students protesting against war in Gaza have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campus

"Also to terminate research partnerships with Israeli universities who are complicit in the genocide. As an academic institution we should uphold principles that we learn about like decolonisation and learning from the past and critiquing ethnic cleansing.

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"Yet we are championing and having research partnerships with universities in the genocidal state so we want that to be terminated. We want our rights to peaceful protests protected. We are an accessible and inclusive encampment. 

"We have had people from all kinds of different backgrounds and to smear our intentions with strategic tactics to say we are perhaps intimidating students or disrupting exams is upsetting and disrespectful. 

"We are students who have exams and we don't want to be here. We want to work with the university with no hostility. We are only standing up for what is right and that's not to ethnically cleanse indigenous people from their land."

Students protesting against war in Gaza  have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campusStudents protesting against war in Gaza  have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campus
Students protesting against war in Gaza have set up pro-Palestine camp at the University of Birmingham's main Edgbaston campus

Another student, who would only give her name as Robin, added: "We are a peaceful camp and we are not disrupting other students, so we will stay put. When we set up we were told by security what we were doing might be considered criminal and lets just say, they made sure we knew that.

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"But there has been no sign of his threat being enforced so far. We have around 40 tents now so I don't think they could break us up as there's so many of us. There has only been one flash-point here involving somebody who said they were staff going around and taking down signs, but security were swiftly on top of that. There's a genocide going on and I could not just sit back and let that happen. We are just being asked to be treated with fairness."

Another student, who did not wish to be named, added: "We won't be going anywhere. What we are doing is fair and just. How can we trespass on our own campus anyway? We pay for the right to be here and deserve to have our voices heard. We are not being noisy or disruptive, we are just standing up for what we believein . We won't go away that easily just because of one letter."

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