University of London protests see more arrests

Thirty-six people were arrested after another confrontation between protesters and police at the University of London.

December 6, 2013

University of London Union Students Demonstration Police

Source: Oscar Webb/London Student

Arrests took place when small groups of protesters were kettled, or contained, by police outside Euston Square station in central London.

Meanwhile, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts said there would be a “national day of action” on 11 December to protest at “unprecedented levels of violence from the police, targeting a resurgent wave of activism against the privatisation of the university system”.

The group also cited recent disturbances at the University of Sussex and the University of Birmingham. It said the “day of action” would be held under the “Cops Off Campus” banner and would start at the University of London Union (ULU).

Yesterday’s incident is part of a long-running dispute between students and management at the University of London.

Plans by management to close ULU have provoked fierce opposition from some students. And there have also been student protests in support of the 3 Cosas campaign to give outsourced cleaning workers at the university equal terms and conditions with directly-employed staff.

On 3 December, a group of protesters entered the university’s headquarters at Senate House and attempted to stage an occupation, citing their opposition to the ULU closure and their support for the 3 Cosas campaign, among other issues.

ULU officers claimed in a statement that police helped “violently evict” the occupiers.

A Metropolitan Police statement said that yesterday “a small number of uniformed officers were patrolling” the area around the university, following the previous day’s incident.

“At approximately 15:20…a large group of between 200 and 300 people had gathered and were making their way along Malet Street,” the Met’s statement said.

“Some of the group, were covering their faces, others carrying home made shields. Smoke bombs and other unknown objects were thrown at police.”

The police statement added that, later, “two small containments were put in place in Gower Street to prevent a breach of the peace”.

The police said of the 36 people arrested, two people were arrested on suspicion of assault on police; with the remaining 34 arrested “for breach of the peace and on suspicion of affray”.

One of those arrested was Oscar Webb, the editor of ULU’s newspaper the London Student, who was photographing the protest.

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