Police officers were called last night to accompany students from a lecture hall at a University College London event after anti-Israel demonstrators were seen trapping attendees in the room where the talk was being held and preventing others from entering.
In a series of videos from the event, the protesters can be seen banging on the windows and the door to the hall, shouting “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.
Attendees were forced to lock themselves into a room to protect against approximately 100 protesters gathered outside to demonstrate against the arrival of Israeli peace activist Hen Mazzig.
The demonstrators, believed to be led by the Friends of Palestine Society, entered the room to fly Palestinian flags and chant just as speaker Hen Mazzig began talking.
Officers entered the room and carried out an evacuation of members of UCL’s Friends of Israel group amid chaotic scenes.
CFI ‘s Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles condemned the “shameful” protest in a statement: “The shameful events of last night provide another sad insight into the levels of intimidation and harassment that Jewish and Israeli students can experience on university campuses across the U.K.
“Having spoken just the day before at a UCL Holocaust remembrance conference held in a suitably respectful atmosphere, it was concerning to see the vastly different response to a pro-Israel event at the same university.
“The apparent anti-Semitism lurking behind some hard-line anti-Israel ‘activists’ is a terrible indictment of the intolerance of some modern students. Free speech must be guaranteed and protected for all”.
UCL Friends of Israel said in a statement: “Last night, the right to freedom of speech by UCL Friends of Israel’s was alarmingly, seriously compromised. Student protestors did their utmost to ensure that Hen Mazzig, a well known prominent Israeli peace activist, was not given a safe platform from which to share his experience as an intermediary between Palestinians and Israelis”.
They added: “We are extremely disappointed that instead of an evening of constructive dialogue with a man, deeply sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, The Palestinian Society chose to use intimidation against those wishing to attend – students both Jewish and not who support Israel’s right to exist and wished to learn more were left shaken”.
The Community Security Trust confirmed all the students had been safely helped from the room. Video footage shows audience members being led from the building by police, as activists scream “shame, shame” at them.
In a statement, the Union of Jewish Students said: “There can be no excuses for the events that took place at UCL last night. The fact that such violence and hostility took place only nine months after the incident at KCL, with police having to once again be called, is an absolute disgrace”.