Posts Tagged ‘student protest’

Student protest

December 10, 2013

Following decades of student apathy, the campuses are a stirring.

students leaving Cornwallis building following student sit-in at University of Kent at Canterbury  March 1970

students leaving Cornwallis building following student sit-in at University of Kent at Canterbury March 1970

The height of student protest was the late 1960s, early 1970s, then nada.

Centres of student radicalism, Kent and Sussex.

At Kent, students occupied the Cornwallis building and occupied it for weeks. The issues were student files and lack of accountability. The Free University of Canterbury in Kent was declared.

From the heyday of the late 1960s, early 1970s, nada, decades of student apathy, universities turned from centres of academic excellence to bums-on-seats businesses.

We see Coke machines, Starbucks, Subway on campuses. They would not have got a look in during the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Are universities and students no longer capable of running their own coffee bars, are those placing the contracts getting backhanders?

If you want an on-campus quality coffee shop (which immediately rules out Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero), then invite a local entrepreneur to run it, engage a skilled barista, train the students on the art of coffee making (it might be the only job they can find on graduating), serve quality coffee, quality food, occasional live music in the evening, a quiet area to sit and study.

UK Uncut and Occupy have shown the way forward, it is only through protest and occupation we move the agenda forward. Last month Civil Society walked out of the Climate Talks in protest at the hijacking by Big Oil, Big Coal.

Protest has become imaginative.

There has also been the expected brutal backlash.

New York last year we saw police brutality against Occupy New York. On a student campus, peaceful students were pinned to the ground and pepper spray sprayed into their eyes.

This year there has been police brutality against students at London University, at Sussex there has been intimidation by the Vice Chancellor.

At Sussex, the students are protesting at privatisation. The response of the Vice Chancellor has been heavy handed and completely over the top.

On Wednesday evening, after coming home from work, I found an email in my inbox from the vice-chancellor of my university. It told me that I was suspended from the University of Sussex, meaning I am unable to go on to campus, attend classes, or be involved with any societies and campaigns. I am unable to access teaching, resources, or even attend my doctor’s surgery.

If the Vice Chancellor of Sussex thinks intimating students, will stop protest, then he is not fit for purpose and should resign with immediate effect. It goes without saying, the suspended students should be reinstated forthwith, and receive an unconditional apology.

The university authorities lacked even the common courtesy to call the students in, they were sent an e-mail.

Please sign the petition calling for the suspended students to be reinstated and add your voice calling for the Vice Chancellor to resign.

At the University of London, an occupation was broken up by security thugs and Met Police using extreme violence, one student punched in the face and knocked to the ground, others report being physically attacked by security thugs and police.

We are still investigating what happened inside, but initial reports indicate that protesters were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair.

The level of police force that we have seen in the last couple of days is totally unprecedented on university campuses. It appears pre-planned. It is as if they are reacting to a riot situation — taking the level of force — and using it against students protesting on a university campus.

Michael Chessum, president of the University of London Union, was arrested on his way home for organising an unauthorised protest against the forced closure by the university authorities of the London Student Union building.

The demonstration Michael helped organise in his role as ULU President was peaceful and part of a proud history of student dissent. The students protest didn’t even leave the pavement for goodness sake!

Is it Turkey, Egypt or England? It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell. Authoritarian rule, zero tolerance of dissent, violent repression.

A Cops off Campus National Day of Action has been called for Wednesday 11 December 2013. The Cops off Campus protest will take place at the University of London and campuses across the country.

In the past month universities across the country have been subject to unprecedented levels of violence from the police, targeting a resurgent wave of activism against the privatisation of the university system.

Across the country, students are initiating a vibrant, popular, winnable fight for democratic and public universities, free from exploitation and repression. We cannot be beaten if we stand together.

If you cannot protest on a university campus against policies of the university where can one protest? Are universities not meant to be bastions of free thought?

The reason we are seeing this clampdown, is that authorities are paranoid at protest. They realise that the reaction, not only of students, but of Civil Society, is that enough is enough, they have had enough of Austerity, and see it for what it really is, Shock Doctrine, an excuse for slash and burn of public services, of cutting welfare.

We are seeing not only brutal crackdown, we are also seeing a failure of the mainstream media to report.

Last month two protests took place in London. There was a deafening silence from the mainstream media.

Originally published on Medium.

Jody McIntyre on politics, war and equality

December 21, 2010

Jody McIntyre, who the police pulled from his wheel chair and dragged along the ground, at the students anti-cuts demonstration on 9 December 2010, talks about politics, war and equality.

Also see

‘We want equality’

Casualties of student fees protest

Alfie Meadows seriously injured in student fees protest

Last Thursday and the future of the anti-cuts movement

December 14, 2010
London protest

London protest

On Thursday the 9th of December I made the journey from my sleepy Oxfordshire village to ULU, London, to join the Day X protest. What woke me, a studious even ‘nerdy’ sixth former, from the slumber of my comfortable middle class existence? Why, when I will not directly be effected by the £9,000 a year tuition fees, did I care enough to take to the streets of London? Because I felt cheated, betrayed even, by the political system our country calls a democracy. I, like the rest of my generation, or even the entire country, has been let down by a system supposed to act in our best interests.

I was too young to vote in the elections so I decided to try and have some small influence on the course of our country’s future. In my overwhelmingly Conservative constituency I had the youthful audacity to think that by campaigning—leafleting and posting posters—
I could influence the outcome of the election. I couldn’t as it turns out, however, it’s not my failure to influence the outcome that irks me—even given that I’m hopeful I brought at least a few people out to vote Liberal Democrat, whose votes in a proportionally representative system would have meant something. It’s the fact that I did it at all—in the pouring rain—that bothers me. I helped, and so did many others who believed in the liberal cause, with the grass roots political activities of a party that has subsequently abandoned my generation in the pursuit of personal power.

I was sold an ideology by the Liberal Democrats. Their principles of fairness, free education and nuclear reduction resonated with me. So much so that I was willing to get out of my metaphorical armchair and do something about it. However, I was lied to. I was led to act on false pretences; we all were. Normally misrepresentation of such a magnitude as that seen in the Liberal Democrats electoral campaign would lead to a trading standards investigation if it were a corporation concerned. Here, however, it leads to a political party entering into a government with no mandate and abandoning its principles.

Last Thursday was a watershed. Not because of what the protestors or even the police did but because of what the government did. They vandalised our education system in a far more costly manner than any army of protestors could hope to do to Parliament Square. They demonstrated that the government, the entire political ruling class, has lost touch with the reality of the lives of those they supposedly represent.

This is where UKUncut comes in. When the public become disenfranchised from the political system, when they feel that there is an injustice occurring, they grumble. However, this inactive response to injustice can be rectified, this maelstrom of disgruntled grumblers can be turned into an army for justice and equality. My generation are willing to fight for what they believe in, they’ve proved that in the last month of student protests, and they are ready to be mobilised. It’s now time to mobilise the rest of society because tax avoidance affects all of us.

The biggest factor that deters many 6th formers and collage students from attending these marches in my experience is the cost of travel to London. What better to combat this than by mobilising people in their own communities? What better that to annul their worries about large periods spent missing vital education than organising short targeted protests on weekends? We have a historic opportunity to make a change to the way power is structured in this country, the world even. The people for too long have been at the behest of a ruling political class who are out of touch with its people. How can 18 millionaire ministers understand what it is to be a working or middle class student, public servant or worker? By mobilising the people of this country, not just the students and sixth-formers, but everyone UKUncut has a chance to change the world for good.

Small leaderless highly targeted actions are the way forward. We still need vast numbers of people to come out on the streets of our capital, to strike and to take part in civil disobedience but this won’t be enough. We can see in the media portrayal and in public perceptions of Thursday’s protest that these protests can be marginalised and categorised as despicable violent and thuggish events. These perceptions are of course unfair and unfounded because these people were not there. They were not crushed bodily against walls by advancing lines of riot police who were indiscriminately striking out into a crowd of protesters whose hands were raised above their heads in surrender and who were shouting “peaceful protest” until their throats could no longer stand the strain. They didn’t feel the fear and anger as advancing lines of mounted police threatened to crush their friends. What the public and the media can identify with, however, is peaceful direct action on every high street in this country. They can immediately see the injustice of the super rich evading taxes that their grandparents pay on their pensions, that the lowest paid workers in our country pay without option. They can get behind our cause.

So here’s my rallying cry. Go home from the streets of London with hope in your hearts because you can change the future. Take the anger you feel at the injustices you’ve seen, the pain of the bruises you may have received at the hands of your own police force, and turn it into action in your community. It takes fewer than 10 people sat in front of a shop doorway with a placard and leaflets to get our message across. We may have lost the battle on Thursday but we are winning the war. A poet read one of his pieces before we set off from ULU on Thursday. He said: “for a long time now, over the skies of this silver land, the Gods of conscience have been sleeping”. It is our job now to wake this country, to turn the wrath of its people towards inequity and to stop the tax-dodging rich and their ideologue counterparts in government from bringing down our country.

A guest blog on UK Uncut by Andrew Pryde, a sixth form student from Oxfordshire.

Also see

Casualties of student fees protest

A sad day for democracy

Captain SKA – Liar Liar

Right to protest?

‘We want equality’

December 14, 2010

Why can’t disabled people use the tube?

Imagine if there were signs outside this station saying “NO DISABLED PEOPLE ALLOWED”. That would be denounced as outrageous, unfair, a policy of apartheid. But for anyone using a wheelchair, that is the reality of the situation.

Other oppressed minorities have been forced to fight for their rights in the past. Rosa Parkes refused to rise from her seat so that black people could take any seat on the bus, and now, it is time for disabled people to do the same.

Those in power will reply with every excuse… there isn’t enough money, it’s impossible to work on all stations etc. etc. But the time for excuses is over. It is time for a change.

How can we claim to be living in a developed country, a “free democracy”, when such a large section of society are denied the right to use our public transport. Can you imagine this being accepted for any other group of people… no women on buses? No black people on trains?

Then WHY is it OK for disabled people?

Excellent film and commentary from the blog of Jody McIntyre.

Jody McIntyre was one of the casualties of the student protests last week. He was dragged out of his wheelchair by four police officers and beaten. 45 minutes later, one of these same police officers again dragged him out of his wheelchair.

We need a Public Inquiry. Something clearly went wrong on the day. It started out as a peaceful day. People were partying on the street, it was a carnival atmosphere. Why then did a carnival and good spirits end in a riot? End with people being illegally detained in a kettle on Westminster Bridge?

We have to stop the lies being spread by mainstream media and our disgraceful political elite. The situation is being deliberately inflamed to justify an ever more draconian and violent clampdown.

We have the right to protest without fear of being attacked by the police.

Also see

Rong Radio

Lowkey – Terrorist? by Lowkey

Captain SKA – Liar Liar

The Battle for Parliament Square

December 13, 2010

When you hold a mirror up to Government, it lashes out. The truth hurts; government and corporations are parasites upon the beautiful and natural human spirit.

9th December 2010, London – Thousands of students send a message to the British establishment by occupying Parliament Square despite Police attempts to prevent this and also attacking the Royal Family by targetting Prince Charles and his wife.

Opening and closing track: La Roux ‘In For The Kill’ – Skrillex remix.


Right to protest?

Caroline Lucas MP speaks at student fees protest

A sad day for democracy

Captain SKA – Liar Liar

London Student Assembly Press Conference

Alfie Meadows seriously injured in student fees protest

Inside the Parliament Square kettle

Kettled During 9th of December Protest

Alfie Meadows seriously injured in student fees protest

December 12, 2010

Alfie Meadows, a participant in the student fee protest on Thursday, was part of a large group that had been “kettled” — rounded up indiscriminately and confined by police. When he attempted to leave the kettle with a group of friends — including two sympathetic lecturers — he suffered a blow to the head from a police baton.

He fell unconscious on the way to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he underwent a three-hour operation to save his life.

On arriving at he hospital he and his mother were told that he was not going to be admitted, they were only admitting injured police officers and they would have to go to another hospital. The ambulance driver kicked up a fuss, which resulted in Alfie Meadows being admitted.

A vigil for Alfie has been mounted outside Charing Cross Hospital.

Alfie Meadows was one of the 44 protestors who were taken to hospital by the ambulance service on Thursday.

A much larger number were injured during the day which saw mass kettling by the police and violent attacks early on by police trying to stop students and protestors assembling in Parliament Square, and then from leaving the Square. A student had her collar bone broken when mounted police charged.There were various reports of unconscious people and other hospitalisations due to head injuries. Press were also reportedly targeted by some police officers for beatings and some officers went after cameras trying to smash them.

Also see

London Student Assembly Press Conference

Police officers ‘tried to stop hospital staff treating injured protester’
Student has emergency brain surgery after ‘being beaten around the head with police truncheon’ during protest

Vigil for Alfie Meadows DayX3 Injured Near Fatal

Police investigate truncheon attack

Student protester operated on after being ‘hit with police baton’

‘Scenes of police officers being dragged off police horses and beaten’

hospital refusing to treat protestors?

Captain SKA – Liar Liar

A sad day for democracy

Student fees protests: who started the violence?

Inside the Parliament Square kettle

Kettled During 9th of December Protest

Student Walkout 24th November 2010

November 27, 2010

stop the cuts

Also see

Mounted Police charge protesters

New Kids on the Black Block

Student occupation of Millbank Tower Tory HQ

Student occupation of Millbank Tower Tory HQ

November 13, 2010


spot the tiny rogue minority

spot the tiny rogue minority

It was claimed it was a tiny minority. It was not.

When I look at the video footage I see wave after wave of students pushing the police back into Millbank Tower and then they flood in. Those outside were cheering them on.

Yes some windows were broken, a bonfire was lit of the students own sticks and banners.

Yes, the throwing of a fire extinguisher from the roof was wrong. It was lucky no one below was killed.

But what of the broken lives that the attacks on the poor are causing? It is not only the welfare cuts. We have a package of measures aimed at attacking and demonising the unemployed. I hear shoddy reporting by the BBC, will these measures get the unemployed back to work? The simply answer is no because there are no jobs to go to. What will get the unemployed back to work is jobs to go to.

Where is the Big Society? Where is the open discussion about the cuts if we are all in this together? I see attacks on the sick and poor and unemployed, but I do not see or hear them being asked what they want, what help they need.

Nothing is achieved without direct action. Nothing will change until those in power are hit where it hurts.

It was claimed it was the work of Class Warfare or Hard Core Anarchists. It was not. It lacked all the hallmarks, they do not place themselves in a position where they can easily be identified or arrested.

What we saw on the day that 50,000 student marched in protest at government cuts was release of pent up anger at the scale of the cuts. The comments by the NUS leader were pathetic. Looking for a safe party seat are we?

We are not in the dire financial state as claimed. Neither the country nor the government is facing imminent bankruptcy.

Yes, we have a Budget Deficit, and yes it must be reduced, but at a pace the economy can handle.

What we are seeing is slash and burn of public services and welfare. The cuts are not fair and no we are not in it together. The cuts are disproportionately hitting the poor not the rich. The only Class Warfare that is being waged is by the government against the poor.

£7 billion cut from welfare, the poor, the disabled pay the price.

Vodafone let off a £6 billion unpaid tax bill.

We can all do the sums. And we do not like the result.

Occupation of Vodafone shops across the country, occupation of Tory HQ at Millbank Tower. This is just the beginning of the opposition to the unwelcome and unpopular cuts. UK Uncut are planning a mass day of action against cuts on 4 December 2010. This coincides with a mass rally and march on Parliament on Climate Change.

Also see

The Siege Of Millbank

Why the Millbank students deserve our solidarity

Refund our Future: Reflections on the invasion of Millbank Tower

The students are revolting – report on the occupation of Millbank Tower

Student anti-cuts demo in London

Student protest: we are all in this together

Student protests against tuition fees

Losing Their Faculties

First Cuts Not the Deepest

Student protest photo reflects Britain’s Dionysian desire

Spending cuts – the fightback begins

Grateful Vodafone executives say a big thank you to Chancellor George Osborne

Nationwide shut down of Vodafone stores

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