STUDENTS at the University of Edinburgh have occupied a building in protest against the university’s “investment in Israeli arms and apartheid”.

The Gordon Aikman lecture theatre, on George Square, was occupied on Monday evening by members of the Edinburgh University Justice for Palestine Society (EUJPS), Vegans for Animal Liberation and Ethical Revolution in Edinburgh (VALERIE), Staff-Student Solidarity Network (SSSN), Edinburgh Youth in Resistance, and Edinburgh University Kehillah.

The occupation follows a campaign from EUJPS which aimed to highlight the University of Edinburgh’s investment portfolio in companies which “support, uphold and facilitate Israeli Apartheid and ICC war crimes”.

The National: Protestors occupied the building on Monday eveningProtestors occupied the building on Monday evening (Image: Maryse Bots)

The group claims that the university currently holds more than £39 million in companies which are complicit in funding Israel, including £30m in BlackRock, £3.6m in Amazon, £2.6m in and £2.2m in Albemarle.

In a joint statement on Instagram, the student groups said: “The University of Edinburgh invests over £39 million yearly in companies contributing to the Israeli apartheid system and arms industry.

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“This funding has continued despite the unprecedented Israeli attacks on Gaza over the past 5 months resulting in at least 29,000 civilian victims.

“We, the students of Edinburgh university, refuse to see millions generated from our own tuition fees invested in Israeli arms and apartheid.

“As the University has enjoyed the esteem of having divested from Russian companies and fossil fuels in the past, it is more than time for the same divestment from Israel.


A post shared by EUJPS (@eu_jps)


“Senior Management have ignored our letters, our divestment petition which has gained over 2000 signatures, and our repeated protests.

“We refuse to be complicit – students and staff will not stop taking action until the university divests!”

The building has a long history of student occupation, with the last occupation taking place in 2022, also by EUJPS, SSSN and Youth in Resistance, over the university’s position on the situation in Palestine and climate change.

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It is unclear how long the occupation is set to last.

A similar occupation took place at Glasgow University, where students left after 15 days of staging a sit-in.

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “The continuing violence and loss of life in Palestine is deeply distressing and we understand the strength of feeling on this issue.

"We support the right to take part in lawful, peaceful and respectful protest, however, we do not support protestors preventing access to a building.

"We are working to relocate any affected teaching and other activities to avoid disruption for the rest of our community.”