Red paint thrown on historic entrance of University of Manchester by pro-Palestine protestors

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Featured image: Georgia Pearson

Red paint thrown on historic entrance of University of Manchester in protest against the university’s involvement with Israel

A group of protestors threw red paint on the historic entrance of the University of Manchester (UoM) on 13 May. ‘UoM Action For Palestine’, an autonomous group for direct action against UoM’s ties to Israel, have claimed responsibility for the event, stating: “We have decided to take the matter into our own hands.”

Red paint was thrown around the archway entrance to UoM, the oldest part of the university, across the metal letters ‘University of Manchester’. The paint also covered part of the Manchester Museum, which is owned by UoM. Both are Grade II listed buildings.

A UoM spokesperson responded: “There has been some criminal damage primarily to the Manchester Museum and Queens Arch, with paint sprayed over part of the building early this morning. We have CCTV footage of the incident and are working with Greater Manchester Police who are investigating the incident. Meanwhile, specialist paint removal contractors have been called and will be dealing with the damage as soon as possible.”

This action is not isolated; it comes as part of a wider movement of the UoM students protesting against the university’s connections to Israel in the wake of the ongoing conflict in Palestine. The student protestors ‘demand the end of UoM ties to Israel, in particular its partnerships with BAE Systems, Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’.

They are calling for the university to end its connections to arms manufacturer BAE Systems, cut ties with Israeli universities and adopt a policy ensuring that all research is ethical and does not contribute towards the arms trade. 

The intensification of student protests in Manchester and universities throughout the UK and US is a response to the escalation of the conflict in Palestine, in particular Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire, and the launching of an operation in Rafah.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestine territory concluded on 26nd March that there are “reasonable grounds to believe the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met”. Amnesty International insists that this evidence “must spur international action to prevent genocide”.

Pro-Palestine groups, including Manchester Leftish Action and Youth Front for Palestine have erected a camp on Brunswick Park since 2nd May. They claim no responsibility for the red paint action, although it is clear that their demands converge, with camp protestors also calling for no disciplinary action against student protestors. 

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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