College protests and rally in Luton town centre in calls for ceasefire in Gaza

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Students join protests to end conflict in Gaza

Students from Luton Sixth Form College joined national protests on Friday against the ongoing situation in Gaza.

The students carried banners calling for the end of Israel’s bombing of Gaza and the protection of children. There were also speeches in the college grounds before the students returned to their classrooms.

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And on Saturday, crowds gathered outside Luton Town Hall for a protest by the Luton Palestine Solidarity campaign.

Protestors in Luton town centre on Saturday - photo Tony MargiocchiProtestors in Luton town centre on Saturday - photo Tony Margiocchi
Protestors in Luton town centre on Saturday - photo Tony Margiocchi

The college said Friday’s peaceful protest had not been sanctioned by the college, but it was preparing ways to help students navigate heightened concerns about the Middle East, including a fundraising week and Luton Peace Celebration Day for the week beginning December 11.

Vice principal Ian Francis described it as: “a celebration of peace, diversity and humanitarian support culminating in a Humanitarian Aid Fair on Friday 15th December consisting of a number of focused activities, exhibitions, talks and fundraising opportunities which support the humanitarian crisis in countries identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO): Occupied Palestinian territory, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Greater Horn of Africa and Sudan. The appropriate amounts donated to the above areas will be made in partnership with the Student Council.”

He said: “The escalation of violence and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza has affected many within the college, either directly or indirectly by the news stories and images broadcast from the region. A number of students have expressed their desire to show their support and to raise funds to support the humanitarian crisis.”

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He added: “The question for our college community is how we can respond to such events and implement a plan to support all our students and staff, including our Muslim and Jewish students and staff and foster a safe and inclusive environment where people are able to express their concerns and engage in a meaningful, respectful and safe dialogue without fear of recrimination.”

The college is holding lectures on exploring the right to protest safely and with impact and on December 4, Shout Out UK will be onsite delivering a series of workshops to students on media literacy.