Exclusive: Inside the UoL buildings being occupied by XR students

They’ve been sleeping over in the 502 building

Student rebels affiliated with environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion have been protesting on campus this week, and have occupied multiple buildings.

The police were called out to campus several times after the students slept over in Teaching Hub 502 on both Monday and Tuesday night of this week.

They are protesting to hold the University of Liverpool to account over their three demands, to “decarbonise, democratise and decolonise”, and are acting in solidarity with the ongoing UCU strike.

On Monday 9th March, the rebels began their protest in the 502 building with the intention to sleep there overnight.

They were eventually locked into the building with campus security checking up on them throughout the night until Tuesday morning, when they got a “very unpleasant wake up call” from them at 6:30 am.

The police were also called out to the campus on Tuesday morning in response to the protest.

During the day on Tuesday, the students chalked messages of their protest on University Square to “make their presence known” to other students.

They intended to sleep in Central Teaching Hub on Tuesday night, but they faced locked doors and tighter security, so slept over in the 502 building again.

The next morning, they were outnumbered by campus security, as well as the police who were called out to the campus again.

After leaving the 502 building on Wednesday morning, the rebels blocked the Foundation building car park, forcing staff members – including Vice Chancellor Janet Beer – to cross the UCU official picket line at the entrance of the Foundation building.

Aisha, one of the student rebels, told The Liverpool Tab these demonstrations were part of “nationwide action” organised by the “Extinction Rebellion Universities” group.

She added the group were occupying these buildings with demands for “the full decarbonisation of the University of Liverpool and its investments” as well as for “citizen assemblies to be held across the university” to deal with the climate crisis and the disputes over pay and staff treatment involved with the UCU strikes.

On the uni’s reaction to the protests, Aisha said: “By our accounts, this has been the most extreme response towards all the uni groups who have taken action.

“No other uni has called the police or demanded to see student IDs [during student demonstrations].”

Despite being closely monitored by campus security as well as local police, the students plan to continue their rebel action by “continuing to sleep out in uni buildings.”

A University of Liverpool spokesperson said: “These are national disputes and significant efforts are being made to try and find a resolution.

“Our priority is to minimise disruption to [students’] learning, during what we recognise is a difficult period for the whole University community.”

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