Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Solidarity and Love to Warwick University Students Attacked by Police.

with 6 comments

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.

Coventry Evening Telegraph.

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.

‘Unnecessarily harmed’

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!


Warwick For Free Education.

Student Assembly Against Austerity.


(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.


6 Responses

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  1. Don’t forget Kevin Gateley came from Warwick University and died in summer 1974 in Red Lion Square, London, demonstrating against the fascist National Front


    December 4, 2014 at 6:09 pm

  2. There was a mural picture about that in the Students’ Union. Long gone….

    Andrew Coates

    December 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

  3. 3 thoughts.

    1. Thank god for the tech that captures pig scum in way that was hard before. Think on that Greens who want us to move to teepees.or ta least stop further development.

    2. Was noticeable sadly little sign of involvement by Chinese students (maybe 25% of Warwick student body, including in demo after event. Also noticeable was number of students there demonstrating day after.

    3. Students should learn from earlier failures and seek to involve city and workers. Working in Coventry, I saw it was demo day after was front page of local paper, just above story about JLR wprkers winning concessions. Was also topic of conversation in office with some support for students but more condemnation of thug pigs (along with laughable, yokel, ‘when they want heavy cops they bring them from Brum, you can tell they’re not from Coventry’!)


    December 7, 2014 at 2:00 am

  4. In the 1970s we (that is, the left) worked closely with the Coventry Trades Council, though I lived for most of the degree (and 2 years afterwards) in Leamington, so I’m not absolutely sure.

    Also my housemate in Leam for two years, John England, was the Porter in the SU in the T & G convenor of the manual unions on Campus.

    I imagine those kind of links aren’t there any more.

    Andrew Coates

    December 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

  5. Yeah, sadly I didn’t see anybody who didn’t look like a student (except me) the day after – although probably a little too quick after to expect anything other than students. I wonder if there even still is a Coventry Trades Council?

    Even if you represent nothing, it’s good seeing a student demo just for the boost it gives you. In the absence of wildcat Trade unions activity seeing the enthusiasm of people like Coates tweeted about earlier (Beth Redmond http://gu.com/p/44v6m/stw) shows the Far Left are not yet done

    My impression is the student dilettante wadicals live in posh Leamington; those that might possibly not go right so soon live in Coventry. Looks like nothing has changed.


    December 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

  6. When I lived there Leamington had a very poor area in the South, and a big car plant.

    There is a Coventry Trades Council, though I am not sure about the Leamington one – which we worked with closely.

    Andrew Coates

    December 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

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