Greetings from the Botany House occupation!
At 3 AM on Saturday Morning, JSoc and Zionist activist Jak Codd attempted to score a PR victory over the solidarity-occupation. Him and two of his friends turned up half-drunk after a club night with the intention of mocking and intimidating us. They waved an Israeli flag in front of the building while laughing loudly and taking pictures of their actions. Soon they began screaming insults and when members of the occupation came out to ask them to respect the fact that people were sleeping he became confrontational and aggressive. Campus Security soon came out and in no certain terms told him he was deliberately trying to aggrevate our members and ordered him to "fuck off" campus.
In the morning we held a meeting to prepare our intervention into the weekly demonstration for Gaza in Leeds City Centre. We decided to try and get a speaker up onto the platform of the post-demo rally to invite people to a meeting in the occupation, place it within the context of the national and international occupation and protest movements, and announce the further plans of action that we have arranged.
The demonstration itself was considerably smaller than the previous ones. We suspect that in light of the supposed 'ceasefire' many people felt that this demonstration wasn't useful. Around 200-250 people came along and were clearly disgusted by the continued oppression of and attacks on the Palestinian people. The demonstration was loud and lively, despite nearly being attacked by a group of fascist football hooligans, who shouted racial abuse and swore as we went past. After the demonstration our speaker was able to talk to the crowd from the platform (despite the protests of an older member of the SWP) and called on as many people as possible to join the occupation, come to the meetings being hosted and use the space for their own meetings,events and so on. About 30 people followed us back to the occupation and we had a vibrant meeting about how to take the movement further and bring in more people, taking on board the lessons of the Italian, French and Greek occupation movements as well as the anti-apartheid actions of the past.
We have recieved solidarity donations and a lot of people have come into the Botany House to have discussions, cups of tea and make posters. We encourage all students, youth and workers of Leeds to come see us, join us and make the occupation their own!