Further arrest made after pro-Palestinian sit-in at university

A 17th person has been arrested after a pro-Palestine sit-in at one of Oxford University’s office buildings.

Thames Valley Police said 16 people were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of aggravated trespass, including one person who was also arrested on suspicion of common assault.

The force said it came after officers, who were alerted to reports that protesters had gained access to a private office within one of the buildings, attended Wellington Square at Oxford University on Thursday at around 8am.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Oxford Action for Palestine (OA4P) later claimed that Oxford students were arrested during “a peaceful sit in at admin offices” and the building was placed in lockdown.

On Friday, police confirmed a 17th person had been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and affray.

The 16 people arrested on Thursday have also been further arrested on suspicion of affray.

All 17 have been released on conditional bail.

It comes as student encampments against the war in Gaza have been set up in recent weeks at more than a dozen universities across the UK, including Cambridge and Oxford.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Oxford University said that OA4P had “escalated their protest actions from mainly peaceful to direct action tactics”.

It said the protest had caused “significant distress for members of reception staff and the wider staff community”.

The university said it was not a peaceful sit-in, “but a violent action that included forcibly overpowering the receptionist, and then entry into the vice-chancellor’s office while she was on a call, shouting and starting to barricade the doors”.

The Oxford University statement added: “It is clear that the actions of some of the protesters involved in the encampment have created a deeply intimidating environment for many members of our community, including our Jewish students and staff and members of the local Jewish community.

“It is imperative that the university feels safe for all our members, and the actions of some of the protesters have undermined those foundational principles of dignity, care and respect which we must all maintain.”