Manchester security stopped student occupiers from receiving food deliveries

‘A security guard grabbed by arm and threw the chips on the floor’

Students occupying Manchester Uni’s Owen’s Park Tower have said they were stopped by security from getting food deliveries.

Yesterday, UoM Rent Strike, Student Before Profit and 9K4WHAT? began occupying Owen’s Park tower, in Fallowfield. Their primary demands are for the university to reduce rent for the remainder of the academic year, to offer all students no-penalty early release and to increase the standard of support for students in halls.

This morning, Student Before Profit tweeted saying they’d “had food blocked from getting in.” A TikTok posted by the group showed students attempting to pass food to occupiers through the window, with the caption “security not letting us have pizza”.

However, a university spokesperson said today the students “are able to receive food deliveries.”

A student who was delivering the food to the protesters occupying Owen’s Park Tower, told The Manchester Tab: “We were delivering pizzas and chips to the occupiers, which were sent in solidarity from Glasgow University Student Tenant’s Union and I went with three of my flatmates to put it through a window.

“We managed to get four pizzas through, before security came over, grabbed my arm whilst I was trying to push a bag of chips through, threw the chips on the floor and said ‘You can’t f*cking do that lad’. Then one of them joked that it smelt nice to the occupiers.”

Credit: Finley Gore

The student delivering food to the occupiers said: “We were then filmed involuntarily by security, and we intend to make GDPR requests into this footage. Then we spoke to a member of security, who said if the occupiers want to eat then they have to leave the tower. Security have since u-turned on this, and we can now deliver food if its via security.

“However, overall, the experience felt like a massive power trip from the security. It felt like they tried to make the occupiers suffer and torment them.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We are aware of the protest by just eight students in an empty residential building. Overall, less than one percent of our students have so far withheld their rent and we are already engaging with elected Students’ Union representatives about many of the issues being highlighted by the protestors. The University is fully committed to freedom of expression.

“Contrary to some reports, the students have full access to Wi-Fi – although this was switched off for a period overnight – and they are able to receive food deliveries. The President and Vice-Chancellor has already agreed to meet with student hall representatives and this meeting will take place over the weekend.”

Feature images credited to: UoMRentStrike (left) and  James Speakman (right)

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Inside the Manchester protests: Everything that happened at Owen’s Park last night

Free pizza and sofa barricades: What it’s really like inside the Owens Park occupation

Student rent strikers occupy Manchester halls tower block