University of Manchester students begin hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

University of Manchester students begin hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

The students are striking in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners (Stock image)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

University of Manchester students have begun a hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

Five students started the hunger strike today (April 27) and claim they will only start eating again when the university meets their demands, according to Middle East Monitor.

Student Huda Ammori said strikers want to put pressure on the university to stop supporting companies which enable the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Students claim that the university invests in companies such as Caterpillar, which has in the past been criticised by rights groups for selling vehicles to Israel.

The protesters argue that such deals violate the university's own socially responsible investment policy.

Ammori claims a Freedom of Information request to ascertain which companies the university invests in has not been met, however the University of Manchester claim it is being processed in accordance with standard procedure.

The strikers are calling on the university to fulfil all unmet freedom of information requests about the university’s investments in Israel.

Pro-Palestinian activist students are also locked in a dispute with the university over whether they should have disciplined two students for taking part in Israel Apartheid Week by joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

The two students carried a banner which read “Stop Arming Israel." Several academics have signed a petition calling for disciplinary charges against the students to be dropped, and this is the third of the hunger strikers' demands. 

A statement from the students read: "A hunger strike is the most powerful and peaceful way of protesting the university’s constant attempts to silence us. This is the most efficient way of protesting without threats of discriminatory action.

"Our actions aim to show how deeply the university’s complicity in Israel’s war crimes affects students, who are forced to be complicit through their tuition fees.”