Sussex protesters evicted following court order

An occupation of the Bramber House conference centre at the University of Sussex has ended following a High Court ruling.

April 2, 2013

A judge granted a possession order over the site late on 28 March, which High Court enforcement officers put into action on 2 April.

The occupation, in protest at the outsourcing of 235 estates and catering jobs at the university, had been in place for more than seven weeks.

A number of police were present at the eviction, which the university said was to “prevent any criminal offences, ensure public safety, and support the High Court enforcement officers if requested”. There have been no reports of any violence.

The university had already been granted an injunction against protesters entering the campus, which it said was to prevent a repetition of the kind of protest seen at Sussex on 25 March.

During the demonstration, glass doors were smashed, documents burned and graffiti drawn on walls.

In a statement, the university said it had become “increasingly concerned about the risks presented to the campus community by the occupiers in recent weeks”, adding that protesters had used the occupied space to organise the demonstration.

Registrar John Duffy added: “Peaceful demonstrations are not banned at Sussex. But we will not hesitate to act against anyone who uses protest as an excuse to indulge in a repeat of the unacceptable actions of 25 March…Nor will we tolerate unlawful action and occupational protest that threatens to disrupt the university, as we finish this term and approach this summer’s examinations.”

Ahead of the eviction, the protesters said that whatever happened, it would not be the end of their anti-privatisation campaign.

On its website, the campaign posted new statements of solidarity received from staff in the university’s anthropology and international relations departments. 

It also gathered multiple statements from staff reporting the “seriousness and legitimacy” of the campaign and claims that the occupation was peaceful.

This was in response to a judge’s decision on March to delay granting the university a possession order over Bramber House until students had been given a chance to present evidence.

An Early Day Motion in support of the occupation has also been signed by 25 MPs, while a petition in support of the protest, in place since 25 March, has reached close to 5,000 names.

Reader's comments (1)

Protests should continue and another occupation taken, if possible. Outsourcing is a bad idea for staff morale, and will lead to inferior services for the university community.

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