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VIDEO: Protests mar Israel festival




Protesters today descended on a Broad Street event organised by the Oxford Israeli Cultural Society (OICS).


The event, dubbed "Camels in Oxford", was put on as part of iFest, a two-week festival marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.


A protester leads chanting on Broad Street



A group chanting "Free free Palestine, occupation is a crime" have been at the entrance to the festival all afternoon, while slogans including "Celebrating Ethnic Cleansing" have been chalked onto the street.


At lunchtime, the Network of Oxford Women for Justice and Peace held an hour-long silent vigil dressed in black cloaks.


First-year student James Norrie was among those protesting as part of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.


"This is a celebration of a racialised state, the consequence of which is the occupation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians," he said.


However, OICS committee member Jacob Turner was happy with how the event had gone.  He insisted that Israeli culture and politics could be kept seperate.


"I don’t think they [the protesters] have managed to politicise the event.  We got across the message that we wanted to.  People respond better to food being handed out than to shouting," he said.


"The weather has been kind, people are having a great time and seem to be interested."


Police said that the protests had been peaceful and that no arrests had been made. 


See also:
Comment: Celebrating ethnic cleansing?
Comment: OICS response

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