Solidarity and Love to Warwick University Students Attacked by Police.
How they Deal with Protesters for Free Education.
I am a former Warwick University student.
Warwick is notorious for the incidents in 1971 outlined in Warwick University Ltd (1)
During my time (1976 – 1979) we held numerous protests on campus – although I personally was more involved in anti-fascist campaigns and supporting trade union fights, like the dispute at Grunwick.
We sat in overnight in the Senate building only a short time after I began – and they didn’t even try to evict us.
Nothing like the following happened, although my closest friends, who ran the students’ union just after I’d finished faced injunctions for their occupations.
Shocking video: Police CS spray protesting Warwick University students
Three people have been arrested after ugly scenes broke out during a protest at Warwick University.A video has also emerged which appears to capture the moment protesters, from campaign group Warwick for Free Education, were CS sprayed by police.The group had been staging a ‘sit-in’ protest against student fees at the university’s Senate House building as part of a national day of action when three police vehicles arrived and officers began to wrestle with protesters in an apparent attempt to clear the building.
Three people have been arrested and police officers accused of using excessive force after a Taser was pulled on students amid violent scenes at a sit-in for a free education on Wednesday.
Students at the University of Warwick say they were sitting down discussing tuition fees after a national student protest when the police arrived.
Helena Dunnett-Orridge said she had been attacked by police: “There had been a demo for a free education, then people went into Senate House, sat in reception and had a discussion about the protest. Police came in and we all linked arms. They started pushing and attacking people, completely unprovoked. We couldn’t say anything because we were being pushed.
“They pushed people to the ground and grabbed a girl by the throat using her scarf. They also used CS spray in my friend’s face and had Tasers. They started physically pushing and carrying people out. They dragged me out with them.”
Police said they had been called to the site after a member of university staff complained that they had been assaulted. Although they confirmed that a Taser had been taken out, they said it had not been used. A tweet from the West Midlands police account said a Taser “was drawn but not deployed. The sound is a warning sound”.
Now we hear:
Police are investigating claims officers used “disproportionate force” during a protest at the University of Warwick.
Three people were arrested on Wednesday as about 25 students demonstrated against rising tuition fees.
Video on YouTube showed police using CS spray and threatening protesters at the Coventry campus with a Taser.
West Midlands Police said the videos would be examined and it expected the highest standards from all officers.
Security staff at the university said they had faced a “shocking and totally unprovoked act of violence” from protesters, prompting them to call police.
One person was arrested on suspicion of assault, another two on suspicion of obstruction. All three have since been released on police bail.
A statement on the Warwick Free Education website said demonstrators were “punched, pushed on to the floor, dragged, grabbed by the throat and rammed into a wall and kneed in the face”.
Warwick Students Union said that based on video footage online “we absolutely believe that disproportionate force was used against protesters”.
As a result, it said some students were “unnecessarily harmed”.
Some video clips have since been removed from YouTube.
Coventry Police Commander Ch Supt Claire Bell said: “Police officers are highly trained in dealing with all public order situations and using appropriate levels of force.
“We are aware of videos of the protest being circulated on social media sites, which will be examined.
“We expect the highest standards from all officers, and if any officer is found to have fallen below these standards in any way, they will be thoroughly investigated.”
West Midlands Police said a Taser was drawn as a warning, but was not fired, while CS spray was used when it was felt a group was advancing on officers.
Love and Solidarity to the protesting Warwick students!
(1) There is a new edition of this book. Warwick University Limited Spokesman 2014 which Chartist has asked me review.
In February 1970, students occupying the Registry at Warwick University uncovered evidence of secret political surveillance of staff and students. There followed not only fierce debates within the university on issues of governance and democracy, but also a legal battle as the administration tried to stop the press from publishing the documentary evidence, and wider public debate on the purpose and values of university education. Warwick University Ltd will be of great interest to today’s activists, because the conflict at Warwick clearly prefigures current struggles over the subordination of higher education to commercial goals, as well as political surveillance, policing, the use of legal injunctions, press freedom and business corruption. This edition includes a new introduction prepared by some of the original contributors, highlighting the links between then and now.