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University of Cambridge graduations moved to ‘alternative’ venue amid pro-Palestine protest





The University of Cambridge has announced it will host this week’s graduations at an alternative location as a pro-Palestine protest camp remains outside the venue that has hosted ceremonies since the 18th century.

Protesters pitched tents on a lawn outside Senate House on Wednesday, with graduation ceremonies due to take place there today (Friday) and Saturday.

People take part in a protest over the Gaza conflict outside Senate House at Cambridge University Picture: Sam Russell/PA
People take part in a protest over the Gaza conflict outside Senate House at Cambridge University Picture: Sam Russell/PA

But the university said in a statement on Thursday that it had taken the “very difficult decision” to hold the events at an undisclosed “alternative location”.

A University of Cambridge spokesperson said: “We regret that due to the ongoing presence of protesters on Senate House lawn, we have taken the very difficult decision to make alternative arrangements for the Degree Congregations this weekend.

“All students who want to graduate this weekend will still be able to attend their Degree Congregation at an alternative location that is fitting of the occasion.

“We are confident that ceremonies will be a memorable and enjoyable experience for students and their guests.”

An encampment protest over the Gaza conflict on the grounds of Cambridge University Picture: Sam Russell/ PA
An encampment protest over the Gaza conflict on the grounds of Cambridge University Picture: Sam Russell/ PA

An encampment appeared outside King’s College at the start of last week, and activists pitched a ring of tents on the Senate House lawn this week.

Protesters have vowed to continue until a set of demands are met, and earlier this week they chanted: “Let your students graduate; come and negotiate.”

A Cambridge student, who did not wish to be named, said last week that the protesters were demanding that the university “disclose all of its research collaborations and financial ties with companies and institutions complicit in Israel’s genocide and then to divest from these”.

“We will be staying here until our demands are met,” she said.

Protesters said they would be ‘staying here until our demands are met’ Picture: Sam Russell/PA
Protesters said they would be ‘staying here until our demands are met’ Picture: Sam Russell/PA

The university said in an earlier statement that it would be “happy to talk with our students and engage with them” but it was “impossible to have a conversation with an anonymous group”.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman was interviewed by a GB News reporter in the rain in the vicinity of the protests.

As she was interviewed outside King’s College, her face screened from several angles by umbrellas, Cambridge academic and activist Tony Booth held a placard which said “openly Jewish against visible genocide”.

A marked police van parked outside Senate House and there were uniformed officers on foot patrol in the area around lunchtime.




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