Anti-Rhodes protestors brought the noise to Oriel Square on Friday to present a petition to Oriel’s Provost.

Over 150 students filled Oriel Square on Friday afternoon to campaign for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes from the college. Protestors called for the immediate removal of the statue though doubts were raised as to how long getting planning permission to take down the statue would take.

The protest passed without trouble; its focus was on making noise to draw attention to the demonstrators & their message. Some people, writing on the Facebook event for the protest, did, however, show little regard for the potential disruption for students and staff at Oriel. Students at the college have told VERSA of moved tutorials and rude awakenings because of the noise from the protest. Not the best cure for that post-Bridge hangover.

Protestors made a racket with pots, pans, and a number of (often malfunctioning) megaphones. In between rounds of chanting, the crowd was addressed by a number of speakers including ex-CRAE co-chair, Kiran Benipal, and former Rhodes Scholar Ntokozo Qwabe, who presented the group’s petition to college authorities.

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Photos ©JHufurt & VERSA

Oriel’s Vice-Provost, Prof. Annette Volfing, played her part, coming out an hour into the protest to listen to the crowd’s demands and receive the petition, organised by RMF and signed by 1900 people. Qwabe first sat down with the Vice-Provost, as equal humans, not as authority and student, before refusing to look at her when presenting the petition, arguing that the college does not look on him as equal whilst the statue stands.

Speaking to VERSA, Kiran Benipal expressed delight with the turnout at the protest, and was not surprised that Prof Volfing came out to receive the petition, saying “they have to answer to the people”. She went on to state that, “the future of the movement will be decided by those in it; that is the nature of Rhodes Must Fall.”

Oriel College issued a statement following the protest, saying “Oriel is happy to engage with the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford movement on the important issues they have raised in their campaign […but] the College draws a clear line between acknowledging the historical fact of Rhodes’ donation and in any way condoning his political views.”

Despite pissing it down with rain, the turnout was pretty impressive. We’re not sure, though, if the Oriel students woken by the chanting were equally impressed…


This article has 25 comments

  1. Pretty impressive turnout? Really Versa? The Union gets just as many people, if not more, attending it on any given night.

  2. Mayo Saxon Jake Hurfurt could also have mentioned my opposition to miscegenation, if he’s gonna write this. Goshhhhhh…. some people

  3. Slightly saddened to see that not even Versa is willing to challenge Rhodes Must Fall on how much of an obstacle the statue really is to genuine equality, and the worrying implications of this sort of iconoclasm for historic monuments (of which Oxford has many)

  4. This sort of uncritical journalism is the beginning of the end of Versa

  5. My Zionist paymasters do not approve of this article.

  6. Jan Vaclav Nedvidek

    RMF is in no way different from the kind of Leninist policies my parents suffered under in communist Czechoslovakia.

  7. I wasn’t there m8. Sent my deputy to do it.

  8. I refuse to look at this article. VERSA must fall!

  9. This Rhodes bloke sounds vile. Maybe we should open dialogue with him. That worked with hamas, right?

  10. guess who

    p.s no one gives a flying fuck about oriel’s hangover


  12. Cecil Rhodes is a traitorrrrrrr

  13. i wore ralph lauren to this protest to engage with my colonialist heritage

  14. I’d colonise Jake Hurfurt’s bloodline, if only he’d just get a hair cut

  15. I don’t see what the big deal is, I’m not even Jewish.

  16. Yeah but did Rhodes save sub-fusc?

  17. I had visions, Marx was in them;
    We were looking into the Mirror
    To see a little bit clearer
    The Blairite filth in OULC

    The OAN has memories
    Of a problem student body
    But when it’s us who’s been naughty
    We say someone will take responsibility
    (but none of us ever do)

    I’m not sick but I’m not well
    And I’m so hot ’cause OUSU’s Hell.

    Been around the town and found
    That no one gives a fuck about Council
    Somehow colleges send reps still
    But none of them pay notice to me

    Woke up early, caught the coach and
    We’ll campaign for free ed this morning
    Just remember the trigger warnings
    Cos nobody with whom we’re on side, goes outside

    I’m not sick but I’m not well
    And I’m so hot ’cause OUSU’s Hell
    I’m not sick but I’m not well
    And it’s a sin to budget well

    I wanna boycott Zios
    And rage for the Greens
    I wanna #killallmen tonight
    It doesn’t count as racist; they’re white
    CAGE and ISIS are sublime
    I’d like to turn back time
    Decolonise bloodlines
    Make a safe space for my mind

    Paranoia, paranoia
    The Zionists are coming to get me
    Just say you never met me
    I’m going to ground, I’m gonna delete all my tweets
    Hear the voice of the NUS
    Conference is leaving me snoring
    Austerity ain’t lethal, just boring
    Violent student fees, they’re killing me (whoa).

    I’m not sick but I’m not well
    And I’m so hot ’cause OUSU’s Hell
    I’m not sick but I’m not well
    And it’s a sin to budget well

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  19. You’re a wizard Harry!

  20. RMF is not “the people”, much as Kiran Benipal might arrogantly like to think it is. The real people couldn’t be arsed about this, and stayed away – in their millions.

    That said, I think that the statue could come down – at the expense of Benipal and her mob, of course, since they’re so keen on it.

  21. Pingback: VERSA | Oriel announce Rhodes might fall - with planning permission

  22. Pingback: We Should Be Slow to Replace Historical Statues with Empty Pedestals | A Recovering Hack

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