Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Students in Gaza sit-in protest

A group of students have occupied part of Newcastle University in a protest at the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.

About 25 members of Newcastle University Gaza Solidarity Campaign entered the fine arts department lecture theatre on Tuesday night.

A university spokesman said student demands would be discussed but only when the sit-in ended.

The students want the university to publicly condemn recent Israeli attacks in the region.

University security staff are dealing with the situation with a local community police officer offering advice.

Medical aid

A spokesman for the demonstrators said: "We believe that our institution should speak out in support of Palestine and issue a public statement condemning Israel's recent attack on Gaza and the continuing illegal occupation of Palestinian territories."

The group also wants the university to create a scholarship programme for Palestinian students and contribute cash to medical aid.

A university spokesman said: "The students have submitted a petition which we will discuss, but only once the demonstration ends.

"The protest is peaceful at the moment, but the police are aware of the situation.

"The business of the university is not being affected and other students are attending lectures as normal."

More than 18,300 students attend at the university, of which 4,300 are classed as overseas.

More than 1,300 Palestinians, including 400 children, have been killed since Israel began its land, sea and air operations against Hamas militants on 27 December. More than a dozen Israelis have died.

The DEC, which represents more than a dozen aid agencies, is appealing for money to buy food, medicine and blankets after both sides announced a ceasefire.

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04 Feb 09 |  North East/N Isles

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