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Palestine and Israel supporters clash at university event in London

The Israeli army's humanitarian officer was blocked from giving a talk at University College London by pro-Palestine activists
Israel supporters pose at the event at University College London (Facebook/Sussex Friends of Israel)

The police were called to an event on Thursday evening at a London university, after pro-Palestine protesters barricaded people in a room where an Israeli army spokesperson was due to give a talk.

Scores of protesters carrying Palestinian flags and chanting “Free Palestine” stopped people from entering a talk by Israeli army humanitarian officer Hen Mazzig at University College London.

The event’s organisers - the Friends of Israel - phoned police after the protesters were heard banging on windows, and refusing to allow people to leave the room at the central London university.

A video posted to Facebook showed Palestine and Israel supporters arguing outside the room.

Inside the event, footage posted to Twitter showed Mazzig saying he was terrified of the flag-wielding protesters.

I don’t think that even in my days in the IDF it was as bad as it is right now: it’s really scary,” Mazzig said.

The only time both sets of opposing supporters came into contact was outside the event, and while things were heated, the confrontation mainly consisted of chanting.

In one video the Palestinian protesters could be heard chanting: “One, two, three, four, occupation no more. Five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terror state.”

Later in the same footage Palestine and Israel supporters can be heard making progressively louder sheep noises at each other, as tension rose between the two sets of opposing activists.

When police arrived at the scene they escorted the pro-Palestinian supporters outside the building, telling one pro-Israel supporter that they would ensure talk attendees would be protected from any potential threat of violence.

Mazzig later described the scene as a “war zone”.

“I had to be rushed out of the event at @UCL with security,” he tweeted. “The campus was the war zone and the streets are the safe place. I’m out. My god.” 

A police spokesperson confirmed to the Evening Standard they had been called to the Gower Street building at 7pm.

He said: “Officers spoke to security at the university who were happy to let to demonstration go ahead on its grounds.

“They provided a policing presence during the demonstration. Police remained at the venue until the meeting ended safely.

“Following this, a woman made an allegation of common assault to officers and this is currently being investigated by Camden police.”