HUNDREDS turned out for yesterday’s demonstration and students are still in occupation at the University of Warwick, after a peaceful protest on Wednesday turned sour.
The actions on the university’s campus were sparked after officers from West Midlands Police broke up a sit-in protest by the Warwick Free Education group using methods many are describing as “disproportionately violent.”
Officers were called by security staff after it is alleged that one of the security staff received “blows to the head and stomach” from one of the students, his arm since being placed in a sling – a statement which occupying students refute ever happened.
Students, alumni and supporters from outside of the university gathered on Thursday afternoon outside Senate House , the location of Wednesday night’s altercations, for a demonstration against police violence.
Elaine, a graduate of the University of Warwick, attended the rally after seeing the footage and being “absolutely outraged” at the treatment of the students at the hands of the police.
Whilst mostly peaceful, the rally did lead to a door at the rear of Senate House being broken by four students – a move which Peter Dunn, the University’s press officer, described as “a blemish on what was largely a peaceful prostest.”
Approximately 100 people proceeded to occupy the Chancellor’s Suite room, where they discussed the future of the movement.
Warwick Free Education later published a list of demands which included an apology from West Midlands Police and calls for an apology from the University and a promise to support affected students who wish to take legal action against the police, arguing that it “falls under their duty of care.”
West Midlands Police have since launched an inquiry into the actions of officers who attended the initial protest – which included the use CS gas against students and the sparking of Taser guns.
This investigation follows increasing pressure from students, on campus and at Sussex and Manchester universities, and national groups including Amnesty International calling for clarity on the events of Wednesday, December 3.
At the time of publication, there are reportedly 60 students still occupying the Chancellor’s Suite who claim that the University have announced they will not show them CCTV footage of the events of Wednesday evening.
Our reporter, Lauren Clarke, attended the demonstration and was also in the occupied room last night – commenting live on the activities on Twitter.