PRESS RELEASE: Free education action nationwide as police brutally evict Warwick occupation

Photos at bottom of post.

Contact: 07821731481 (NCAFC number, now at Warwick), 07833446627  (local Warwick activist), 07989235178 (London), 07891714146 (London)

  • Direct action on 20 campuses and 6 occupations nationwide, with more to come, on same day that autumn statement read out in parliament.
  • Students brutally evicted by police in Warwick.
  • London students occupy Universities UK for the afternoon.
  • For more, including photos, see our live blog of the day.

Thousands of students all over the UK from around 20 campuses have taken part in a day of action for free education. There are occupations on-going in the University of Manchester, the University of Lancaster and the University of Sheffield. Universities UK was occupied for around three hours this afternoon by activists from UCL and SOAS, whilst Kings College London foyer was occupied this afternoon.

Police brutally evicted a sit-in at Warwick University Senate House. The sit-in followed a rally outside. Students made themselves at home in the ground floor of the building to discuss free education and what a free university would look like. They were interrupted at around 17:10 by police, including riot police, who entered the occupation and along with university security conducted a combined assault on the students, who had linked arms.

CS gas was used on at least 10 protesters, and tasers were drawn.  Protesters claimed they were dragged out of the building by their hair, while at least 3 were arrested. Police, some of them with dogs, then chased some students across campus, and others were assaulted by security. Use of CS spray and tasers are, to NCAFC’s knowledge, unprecedented in campus protest situation.

Callum Cant, from Warwick For Free Education, said: “This sort of police escalation is unprecedented for small and very peaceful campus sit-ins. We are all disgusted at this heavy handed use of the police and ask the University to publicly condemn such an attack on its students.”

Beth Redmond, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said: “The widespread action today has shown that the movement for free education has really kicked off. We expect the local days of action on Saturday to be even bigger and we will not be scared off by police and university repression.”

Hannah Sketchley, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said: “Since the #copsoffcampus movement last year, we have seen growing police repression and brutality as a response to student activism. This can mean only one thing: those at the top are scared of the student movement, because they have seen what students can achieve worldwide and their interests lay repressing dissent.”

NOTES:

  1. Universities UK is a lobbying organisation which represents University Chancellors and Vice Chancellors nationwide and was key in lobbying for higher fees in 2010.
  2. The NCAFC calls for free education to be funded taxing the rich and big business. We are a democratic coalition which has existed since 2010.
  3. The #copsoffcampus movement in December 2013 demanded the banning of police from all university campuses and was a response to the violent eviction of an occupation of the University of London management offices and continued repression and victimisation of protest organisers. It saw three days of protest in Bloomsbury and culminated in 43 arrests.

 

 

Police officer reaches for CS spray at Warwick

Police officer reaches for CS spray at Warwick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occupation at Lancaster University

Occupation at Lancaster University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students occupy Universities UK

Students occupy Universities UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banner drop at Cambridge

Banner drop at Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action at University of East Anglia

Action at University of East Anglia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students protesting in Sussex

Students protesting in Sussex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester University occupied

Manchester University occupied

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banner from inside Sheffield University occupation

Banner from inside Sheffield University occupation

 

 

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