Police officers were called on Thursday to an on-campus Israel event at University College London after pro-Palestinian demonstrators were seen trapping attendees in the room where the talk was being held and preventing others from going in.
Israel advocate Hen Mazzig was to speak at the event hosted by the Friends of Israel at UCL in London and CAMERA on Campus, but the protests led by the Friends of Palestine Society began just as he began talking.
In a series of videos from the event, the protesters can be seen banging on the windows and the door to the hall, shouting “Free, free Palestine,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Outside the room, one attendee confronts a group of protesters who refuse to let him and others into the room to hear the speech.
Mazzig, a former StandWithUs education director who is being sponsored on his campus visits by CAMERA, tries to get through his lecture but the tension is palpable, as is clear in the footage.
In a video broadcast on Facebook from inside the hall, Mazzig tells followers: “The situation is really out of control, we’re hiding in a room and there are protesters outside.”
“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,” he says, adding that he has heard that some of the female Jewish supporters of the talk have been attacked by the protesters.
The campus director for StandWithUs UK said on Twitter that she was assaulted and that some supporters were attacked.
— Devora Khafi (@DevoraKhafi) October 27, 2016
Security guards can be seen blocking the door of the room to prevent the protesters from storming in, while generally trying to keep everyone calm.
Police arrived on the scene shortly after to escort the attendees out past the protesters, who yelled “Shame! Shame!” at them.
One officer who spoke to the attendees in a video posted on the Sussex Friends of Israel Facebook page said that police could not prevent the screaming — “it’s what they do” — but that officers would make sure the attendees would not be “assaulted or prevented from leaving or anything else of that nature.”
“I had to be rushed out of the event at @UCL with security. The campus was the war zone and the streets are the safe place. I’m out. My god,” Mazzig later tweeted.
At some point during the event, some of the attendees of the Israel event and the pro-Palestinian protesters were in the same room, holding Israeli and Palestinian flags, while the demonstrators shouted “5,6,7,8, Israel’s a terror state.”