We have been attempting to maintain lines of communication with senior management , as we have been consistently from before the occupation started. We have found it difficult to talk to management as they have refused to give us any concrete response to any of our written correspondence. We have also been consistently keen to negotiate face to face with the Principal. However, although their has been an offer extended for a delegation of us to meet him, we have been reluctant to accept this as the University has so far been inconsistent in its dealings with us, including the incident this morning where we were lied to over a freedom of movement issue whilst in talks with senior management. We outlined a clear proposal for meeting the Principal on neutral ground, however, this was rejected. We want to underline the fact that we do not consider that we are obstructing negotiations in any way and that we are disappointed that the Principal has refused to adequately respond to our written communication.
Today, in the space of a few hours, dozens of supporters of the occupation rallied outside and collected the signatures of 350 students and 45 lecturers who affirmed their support for the people of Palestine and called for an Extraordinary General Meeting at the SRC over Gaza. It looks like this will be happening in the next ten days or so!
We also now have over 1000 signatures across our original petitions: (http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/dec-gaza-crisis-appeal/signatures.html) and (http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/the-blood-money-stops-now.html).
There was a large and visible presence on campus today, and an STV film crew turned up to film proceedings, as did a journalist from the Scotsman. Journalists from the GU Guardian and the Strathclyde Uni paper were also reporting. Later in the day, a journalist from Radio Clyde came to interview supporters outside (the University have not allowed press into the building at any point during the occupation). There was a 20-minute live interview with Radio Avaaz and a live five-minute interview with Sunny Govan Radio! (http://www.sunnygovancommunitymedia.org/). We are expecting more media coverage tomorrow, including journalists from the Herald and Sunny Govan.
There have been countless messages of support from around Scotland, the UK and the world. Those sending the messages have included: MSPs such as Bill Kidd, Sandra White and Pauline McNeil - Iain Ferguson, candidate for President, UCU Scotland - numerous academics - Lindsay German, National Convenor Stop the War Coalition - Scottish Jews for a Just Peace - Alex Mosson, former Lord Provost of Glasgow and honorary doctorate of Glasgow University - Scottish Afghan Society - Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign - Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees - GU Action Palestine - Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer - Michael Lavalette, Preston City Councillor - Tommy Sheridan, Solidarity Scotland - UNITE Scottish Housing Branch - Scotland Against Criminalising Communities - Colin Turbett, Unison North Ayrshire - Katy Clark, Labour MP, North Ayshire and Arran - Scottish Socialist Party
There was a great victory today on campus as protesting students shut down a BAE stall at an intern fair! This follows the precedent around the UK as students around the country have shown that death merchants are not welcome in places of learning - several English student unions have already voted to ban arms companies from promoting themselves in their universities. Students had a noise demo outside the Bute hall and stopped BAE Systems from recruiting anyone today as University staff sealed off the building in response. Students have been demonstrating and informing people all over campus all day and are still outside making noise as I type this at 21:20! The positive response they have received from students and staff has been overwhelming.
We had a lovely surprise this afternoon when Danny Alderslowe, Green Councillor for Southside Central, paid us a visit! Danny brought up some fruit and cereal bars which were greatly appreciated, as was his message of support. More importantly, he also spent time working on the Green Party's official response and contacting a whole host of political and media contacts. He's been contacting the management directly and should be speaking at the demonstration tomorrow.
Following a debate tonight in the GUU over the BBC's decision not to show the DEC appeal, we have an assurance that the Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, University Rector, will be coming to the liberated space tomorrow to meet the occupiers and discuss what's been happening! We will also be holding a press conference (see press release).