16 Gaza agitators arrested after violent occupation at Oxford University vice chancellor's office

The University of Oxford went on lockdown on Thursday after violent anti-Israel protesters occupied the vice chancellor's office on Wellington Square. The incident occurred around 9 am and the group involved in the staged sit-in was from Oxford Action for Palestine (OX4P). Police made 16 arrests on suspicion of aggravated trespass. One of them was also charged with suspicion of common assault, Reuters reports.

"Officers attended Wellington Square at Oxford University, at around 8 am this morning following reports that protesters had gained access to a private office within one of the buildings," Thames Valley Police said in a statement.

Oxford University said in a statement that the sit-in was "not peaceful" and that the group conducted "a violent action that included forcibly overpowering the receptionist."

"It is clear that a faction of students and faculty claiming to represent OA4P have not been interested in dialogue in good faith," the university said.

Oxford Action for Palestine said they entered the building "with the intention to remain until we could engage with dialogue with the vice-chancellor" about the university's investments that are tied to Israel.

This comes as activists set up a Gaza encampment in front of the Pitt Rivers Museum, similar to the ones that have propped up at universities in the US and Canada. Activists demand that Oxford boycott Israeli-linked companies.

Video uploaded by OA4P on social media shows confrontations between police and students who were seated in the road and obstructing a police van that the organization claimed was transporting detainees.

"It is evident the administration would rather arrest, silence, and physically assault its own students than confront its enabling of Israel's genocide in Gaza," the group wrote on X.

Police said officers had taken "lawful" and "proportionate" action to address the situation.

It's unclear if the building is still on lockdown and if police have removed all of the individuals involved in the occupation.

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