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Oxford and Cambridge university students have set up pro-Palestinian encampments on campus lawns.

They were started outside King’s College in Cambridge and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.

The “liberated zone encampment” at Oxford University consists of tents erected on sodden ground, with dozens of protestors slushing through mud for teachings on Palestine and “well being circles”, Sky News correspondent Shamaan Freeman-Powell, who is at the scene, reports.

Kendall Gardner
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Kendall Gardner said protesters were ‘keeping things peaceful’

“Come rain or shine, we will free Palestine” they chant.

There’s a food tent serving hot meals, a medical site for emergencies and workshops for arts and crafts.

Kendall Gardner, a Jewish student at the university, told Sky News she was “really inspired by the events that have been happening across the world”.

“The US started a global chain of student activism for Palestine,” she said.

“We have six demands for this protest – the top line is to demand closure of all university-wide financial assets that benefit Israel.

“We will stay here until those demands are met. I brought a big bag, I have everything a girl could need.”

According to the Oxford for Palestine organisation, the demands include the following: disclose university-wide assets, divest university-wide assets, overhaul investment policy, boycott institutional relationships, drop Barclays bank and rebuild and reinvest.

The protest at Oxford University
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Oxford University said it respected students’ ‘right to freedom of expression’

Ms Gardner said protesters had “every intention of keeping things peaceful”.

“I am actually Jewish and I have never felt safer on campus than I have with this community of people,” she said.

“The last few months have been really hard for me personally. I am horrified of what is being done in my name and it has been so comforting for my community members – most of who are Arab, Muslim and Palestinian – to say my culture has nothing to do with what has been going on in Gaza.”

The pro-Palestine protest at Oxford University

An Oxford University spokesperson said: “We are aware of the ongoing demonstration by members of our university community.

“We respect our students and staff members right to freedom of expression in the form of peaceful protests. We ask everyone who is taking part to do so with respect, courtesy and empathy.

“Oxford University’s primary focus is the health and safety of the university community, and to ensure any impact on work, research and learning, including student exams, is minimised. As we have stressed in our student and staff communications there is no place for intolerance at the University of Oxford.”

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Why are university students protesting in the US?
Inside pro-Palestinian protest as police break up UCLA encampment

The university added that the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum remained open.

Many students across the UK have started to gather in protest against the war in Gaza, with encampments set up in cities including Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol and Leeds.

Pro-Palestine Activists Encampment At University Of Bristol ** STORY AVAILABLE, CONTACT SUPPLIER** Where: Bristol, United Kingdom When: 03 May 2024 Credit: Yat Him Wong/Cover Images  (Cover Images via AP Images)
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A pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Bristol. Pic: AP

As well as the encampment which started on Monday, pro-Palestinian students had already disrupted open days at the University of Cambridge in recent days.

Demonstrators told prospective undergraduates and their families they would be “complicit in Israel’s genocide” in Gaza if they applied to Trinity College.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied his country is committing genocide, saying the case brought to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) earlier this year was “outrageous”.

He also vowed to continue the military action that began after the Hamas attack on 7 October.

“We will continue to do what is necessary to defend our country and defend our people,” Mr Netanyahu said after an ICJ ruling compelling Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide.

“Like every country, Israel has an inherent right to defend itself.”

In response to Monday’s demonstrations, the University of Cambridge said it was “fully committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law” and said it acknowledged the “right to protest”.

“We ask everyone in our community to treat each other with understanding and empathy,” it said. “Our priority is the safety of all staff and students.

“We will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia and any other form of racial or religious hatred, or other unlawful activity.”

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The wave of university protests in the UK follows a series of violent clashes at campuses across the US, most prominently at Columbia University in New York.

Protest groups in the UK have called on their universities to divest from Israel in response to its military operation in Gaza.

This would mean selling off stock in Israeli companies or otherwise dropping financial ties.

Encampments have also been set up in recent days in France, Ireland and Finland.

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‘I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences’: 100 faces of infected blood scandal

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'I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences': 100 faces of infected blood scandal

“Losing Gary, my soul mate, was beyond painful,” says Kathryn Croucher, whose husband died aged 42 in 2010.

“Every day was a struggle dealing with the knowledge he was HIV and Hepatitis C positive.”

“Mum always said she was given a death sentence,” recalls Ronan Fitzgerald. His mother, Jane, died aged 54 after being infected with Hepatitis C when she was 16. “It was a ticking time bomb.”

Updates:
Scandal was ‘not an accident’
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The faces of the infected blood scandal.

More than 30,000 Britons were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Around 3,000 people have died as a result of the scandal, while many more still live under the shadow of health problems, debilitating treatments and stigma. Now, the findings of a public inquiry, first announced in 2017, will finally be published.

These are 100 faces of infected blood victims that either they, or their families, have shared with Sky News.

Click the images to read their stories.

Sky News will have full coverage of the infected blood report on TV, online and on the Sky News app today.

Infected blood inquiry Sky News promo image

Sky News would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project.

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Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

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Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

Two judges responded today to US assurances that Mr Assange will not face the death penalty – and can rely on the First Amendment right to free speech if he faced a trial for spying.

The WikiLeaks founder faces prosecution in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information after the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Edward Fitzgerald KC, representing Assange, criticised the assurances of Joe Biden’s US administration at the hearing. He said: “Based on the principle of the separation of powers, the US court can and will apply US law, whatever the executive may say or do.”

He added most of the promises were “blatantly inadequate” – but they had accepted the promise about the death penalty.

In written submissions, the barrister said while the assurance over the death penalty was “an unambiguous executive promise”, the other assurance does not give “any reliable promise as to future action”.

The barrister added: “What needs to be conclusively removed is the risk that he will be prevented from relying on the first amendment on grounds of nationality.”

But James Lewis KC, representing the US government, insisted the “judicial branch of the United States will take due notice of this solemn assurance given by its government in the course of international relations”.

In written submissions, he said there is “no question” that Assange, if extradited, “will be entitled to the full panoply of due process trial rights, including the right to raise, and seek to rely upon, the first amendment as a defence”.

He later told the court: “The assurance does make it clear that he will not be discriminated against because of his nationality.

“He can and will be able to raise all those arguments and his nationality will not prejudice a fair trial.”

Today’s decision is the latest chapter in 13 years of legal battles and detentions for Australian-born Mr Assange.

A woman attends a protest outside the High Court on the day of an extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in London, Britain, May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
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Supporters of Mr Assange have been gathering outside the High Court. Pic: Reuters

A police officers looks on near a placard outside of the Royal Court of Justice.
Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

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The US authorities want to put Mr Assange on trial over 18 charges, nearly all under the Espionage Act.

They claim his actions with WikiLeaks were reckless, damaged national security, and endangered the lives of agents.

During a two-day hearing in February, lawyers for Mr Assange asked for permission to challenge a judge’s dismissal of the majority of his case to prevent his extradition.

In March, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of Mr Assange’s legal arguments – but said unless assurances were given by the US, he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds.

These assurances are that Assange would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment – which protects freedom of speech in the US – that he is not “prejudiced at trial” due to his nationality, and that the death penalty is not imposed.

People attend a protest outside the High Court 
Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

People attend a protest outside the High Court
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Pic: Reuters

Supporters of Mr Assange have already been gathering outside the High Court to continue their calls for his release.

Mr Assange is currently being held in London’s high security Belmarsh prison.

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Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

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Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

Detectives are on the hunt for two men following a fatal stabbing in Glasgow at the weekend.

Police Scotland said the force received a report of a man being attacked and stabbed in Saracen Street, Possil, at around 5pm on Saturday.

Emergency services attended and took the 27-year-old victim to the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where he later died.

The death is being treated as “suspicious” ahead of the completion of a post-mortem examination.

Investigating officers have since established that two men were involved in the attack.

The suspects have been described as white and in their 30s.

One was wearing a light-blue top and black shorts, while the other was dressed in a white top, black shorts and black trainers.

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Officers have been gathering and reviewing CCTV footage from in and around the neighbourhood as the probe continues.

Additional patrols have also been mobilised to the area, and anyone with information or concerns can approach these officers.

Read more from Sky News:
The stories behind 100 victims of infected blood scandal
Probe launched after man dies in police custody

Detective Inspector Lesley-Ann McGee said: “It was a warm, sunny day and there were lots of people out enjoying the weather in Saracen.

“I am asking them to get in touch with us with any information that could assist us in establishing the motive for this attack. If you saw, heard or know anything please contact us.

“I’m also asking people with dashcam or doorbell recording equipment to check for any footage that could assist our investigation.

“A family is mourning the loss of a loved one and it’s imperative we are able to answer how their loved one died.”

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