‘Free education’ protesters occupy Frenchay campus lecture theatre

Lectures will go ahead as planned


A small group of protesters have occupied a lecture theatre on Frenchay campus in a protest against tuition fees.

Over a dozen radicals set themselves up in lecture theatre 2b025 yesterday evening and covered the walls with banners and posters calling for ‘Free Education’.

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Applying the finishing touches

The group have issued a statement to the university, outlining their support for free education and the cancellation of student debt.

It says: “Universities are not factories, nor prisons. Knowledge is not a consumer product and we are not your clients.”

Isaac Kneebone-Hopkins, one of the protesters, exclusively told The Tab: “We’re thinking of maybe being here until the end of the week. We’ve got different things planned for each day to keep it interesting.

“Mark Bould, a film lecturer, is coming to give a talk one day, and we might have some music as well.”

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No pigs either

The number of protesters has fluctuated since the start of the occupation peaking at nearly 20, with a “skeleton crew” of five people still there this morning.

Isaac said: “Nine people slept here last night, but there were a bunch more milling about yesterday. Probably about 15-20 people. Some of them have essays though so couldn’t stay.

“We’ve got a skeleton crew of five here this morning while others go home and shower. It doesn’t really help the cause if we end up smelling like hippies.”

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Dirty hippies

The occupation’s first night passed with little event, a marked contrast from scenes at Warwick University recently that saw CS spray used by police on protesting students.

Isaac said: “The university have been really good so far. Security popped in last night and were helpful. They explained what their response will be if various things happen.

“We’ve decided we’re not going to disrupt any lectures that are scheduled to happen here. Considering we’re campaigning for free education, it would be hypocritical to stop education from happening.

“Sleeping here was pretty uncomfortable but we’d all brought bedding. We’ve also got a big projector hooked up so sat here watching Netflix which was great.

“Food is pretty scarce, there’s only a few vending machines. We got pizza ordered to campus last night though which was good.”

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Who’s got the popcorn?

For regular updates on how the occupation progresses, keep checking The UWE Tab. The protest’s Facebook page can be found here.