Three arrested after protestors occupy Newcastle University building over Gaza conflict

Footage from inside the building shows the barricades placed in front of the doors. Credit: Instagram / @nclapartheidoffcampus

Three people have been arrested after a university building was occupied and traffic on the Tyne Bridge was blocked by protestors demonstrating against the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Newcastle University's Armstrong Building, located on Queen Victoria Road in the city centre, was occupied after a small group of the protestors, calling for freedom for the people of Palestine, entered the building and barricaded themselves inside.

The event was livestreamed on social media, by a group called The Newcastle Coalition Apartheid Off Campus - a group of students who have protested on site for several weeks as the overseas conflict intensifies.

The group has demanded the university cut ties with defence companies and Israeli universities, and for it to call for an "immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire in Gaza".

Protests escalated on Wednesday 29 May with a heavy police presence.

A large police presence was visible on Newcastle University campus. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Elsewhere, several protestors sat down across both lanes of the Tyne Bridge, blocking traffic shortly before 9:30pm.

Northumbria Police officers were on the scene to move protestors on.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “Shortly after 4.10pm yesterday (Wednesday), we were made aware of a protest ongoing at Newcastle University where a group of people had barricaded themselves into a campus building.

“Police attended the scene to engage with all parties involved, with the safety of everyone in attendance including the protesters, members of the public and officers paramount.

“While the activity mainly passed without incident, a number of protesters outside the building refused to comply with police instruction and seemed intent on gaining entry.

“Later that evening, some protesters moved on to other parts of the city centre – causing considerable disruption.

“Two men – aged in their 20s – were arrested in connection with public order offences and both remain in police custody at this time. Another man aged in his 60s was arrested for breach of the peace and has been released.

“As a Force, we uphold the right to peaceful protest. However, if any criminal offences are committed, then those responsible can expect to be dealt with appropriately.”

“Anyone with any concerns is encouraged to speak to an officer on duty.”

The protestors disrupted traffic on the Tyne Bridge. Credit: Viewer pictures

A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “Approximately 20 protestors entered our Armstrong Building yesterday afternoon and barricaded themselves in.

"Our security team dealt with the situation on site with the assistance of Northumbria Police. The protesters left of their own accord at 9.30pm and the building was secured.

“While we have always respected students’ rights to peaceful protest, unauthorised occupation of university property is trespass.

We wish to be clear that this behaviour is unacceptable and any student identified as being involved, or intentionally disrupting the education of other students, will face disciplinary action in line with our code of conduct.

“Protests should be within the law - we do not tolerate and we condemn the use of violence, threatening or abusive words or behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause, distress.”

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