Anti-Israel protesters disrupt event at KCL, Universities Minister condemns “violent intimidation”

By January 20 2016, 17:21 Latest News No Comments

kcl israel eventLast night, an event hosted jointly by the Israel societies of King’s College London (KCL) and London School of Economics (LSE) was disrupted by violent demonstrators at KCL.

The protesters, many of whom are believed to be part of KCL’s Action Palestine society, smashed a window and intimidated students attending the event.

The event was called ‘Security of Israel’ and students were joined by a guest speaker, Ami Ayalon, a left-wing peace activist and former head of the Shin Bet.

Protesters set off the fire alarm on a number of occasions, making it difficult for Ayalon to be heard.

Police were called to the event which was forced to shut down early. Eyewitnesses reported two police cars, two vans and more than 15 officers attending.

In an account of the event on Facebook, the President of KCL Israel society, Esther Endfield, said: “Protests by KCL Action Palestine at this event was inevitable but it was never inevitable that it would turn violent, not to the point that I have just reported being assaulted to the police (which is also being investigated under a hate crime), not to the point that there were chairs thrown at the room and at me, not to the point where they were so violent that Kings College London windows have been smashed”.

Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson MP, today condemned the violence: “Britain and Israel share many important academic links and speakers must be able to address meetings peacefully. Our universities should be safe spaces for students to expand their minds, and there can be no justification for violent intimidation that curtails free speech”.

KCL said that an “urgent investigation” of last night’s events would be undertaken “to establish what happened and what action might need to be taken as a consequence”.

A spokesperson for King’s College London Student’s Union (KCLSU) said that they were “looking into how we move forward from this to make sure all our students are safe, and able to discuss, debate and learn in environments that are supportive and inclusive of all”.

The spokesperson continued: “We’ve seen reports on social media of students feeling frightened and intimidated- we take this very seriously, and we’re here for you, so please get in touch at hello@kclsu.org if there’s anything you want to talk about”.

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