Defend Ed claim they ‘shut down’ an Army showcase event on campus

Another controversial protest


Defend Education launched a noisy protest against an Army officer showcase event at the guild on Wednesday.

The Army’s interactive exhibit featured a virtual parachute drop using a VR headset, lots of freebies and opportunities for recruitment.

Defend Education arrived at the event mid-afternoon with a banner reading ‘#ArmyOffCampus’ and signs condemning attitudes towards the military, and internal issues such as the rape of female soldiers by their colleagues.

One sign read: “Real Qualifications: Killing brown people for oil”. Another said: “Skills for life: Women in the army more likely to be raped by colleagues than be killed in combat.”

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The Army officer showcase is designed to inform students about their graduate employment programmes. It gives them a chance to see what the Army do and what roles are available within the organisation.

Defend Education later tweeted about their protest, but so far have been unavailable for comment.

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Students have expressed very different reactions to the incident:

Riyah Collins, a third year English Lit and History student told the Tab: “Defend Education have only become more ridiculous to me over the past couple of years, they’re doing a great job of alienating most of the people on campus.”

“My dad has dedicated his whole working life to the Royal Marines so to see their ridiculous slogans suggesting he is a man without conscience, a rapist or someone who ‘kills brown people for oil’ I can’t help but feel offended and, frankly, pissed off. By all means be a pacifist but is it really fair to brand every member of our armed forces as rapists or money-grabbing racists?”

Second year James Hill said: “They of course have the right to protest, but they should consider that to some students the army will be in the same vein as a graduate recruiter.”

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“Additionally, however, whilst I get that people will be defensive about the army, it reveals a worrying undercurrent that people assume the army are innocent in everything they do.”

Geology student Jennifer Baker was more sympathetic to the protestors: “The army have every right to try and recruit on campus but the issues that Defend Ed were protesting are serious problems that won’t go away.

“Sadly that’s the current reality of the job and if the army are advertising then the protestors also have the right to make students aware of the facts as well.”