Senate chamber occupation flares up

Student occupation of Aston Webb turns into heated demonstration.


The senate chamber occupation took a dramatic twist today as students began demonstrating in the Aston Webb building.

The demo kicked off at 3pm and was “much needed as a vital stage in this process of escalation”, according to the official Defend Education Birmingham website.

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Approximately 5 minutes into the demonstration, the crowd poured into the Aston Webb building.

As the demo escalated chants included “we want diversity, in our university”, “let them through the door, the rich and the poor” and “they say cut back, we say fight back”.

Someone changed the words to “Fight Club” at one point, but it didn’t catch on.

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Inside the building, there was huge presence of University of Birmingham security staff, one of whom was filming the students making their way around the building.

When asked why he was doing this, he refused to comment.

A speaker from Birmingham UCU spoke over the megaphone about how the cameras were intended to “intimidate us all, without any use at all” and stated BUCU’s “whole-hearted support” against “the erosion of democratic power and representation”.

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But now the university has started to fight back. Occupiers have been hit with papers summoning them to court and two students (Hattie Craig, Simon Furse) have been named in the application of an injunction.

The injunction forcing the Simon Furse and Hattie Craig out of occupation.

The injunction forcing the Simon Furse and Hattie Craig out of occupation.

And this isn’t the first time the uni has tried to quash student activity. Back in 2011 Amnesty International slammed university officials for trying to silence the student voice.

Defend Education and their supporters have been left frustrated by the move, with one sympathiser tweeting “@unibirmingham would rather spend £10,000 on an injunction than speak to it’s students, a joke”.

However, the injunction shows that Hattie and Simon will be viable for all costs from the case.

That's going to be an awkward call home.

That’s going to be an awkward call home.

Tim Hancock, UK campaigns director, said: “The right to peacefully express views is one that we hold very dear in the UK and is one of the basic pillars of our society.”