Student Demo a victory. Don’t make me laugh……. Well played University of London and the Metropolitan police
Last Wednesday my phone started hopping with reports that students had occupied The University of London’s Senate House, Malet Street. This was an action taken during ongoing battles between the Management of the University and students, in response to plans to close ULU and the privatisation of the University system. The Occupation ended when campus security and the Police reacted with a violent eviction which I can only assume was a collaboration between the University and the Police. In all 5 students were arrested.
The following day students gathered again to protest in direct response to the eviction and their continuing grievances. The response of the police was again brutal and violent but this time the whole world was looking. The press love a little bit of student action, young virile and passionate students out on the streets. Promises of great photo opportunities and lucrative sales on offer, so they were out in force and they got what they wanted. Footage soon appeared of students being attacked by police and blood on the floor. A few students had gathered and chants could be heard of “Who killed Mark Duggan? You killed Mark Duggan” and “Cops off Campus” The games had began and when the police made moves the students broke off and dispersed in different directions. It wasn’t long before reports of a containment in Euston Square came through. 38 arrests were made, including a journalist and 3 legal observers.
The arrestees were taken by police to obscure police stations on the outskirts of London then bailed with conditions until March next year. Through the night and the following day the students showed amazing solidarity and with the help of coordinated efforts of grass roots organisations people waited outside police stations to wait for arrestees to be released.
A nationwide day of action was called for the 11th December as a direct response demanding “Cops of Campus” and the University responded with an injunction which banned students from protesting on campus. All eyes were on the students and all of a sudden there was a rush of excitement, people could smell the resistance and liked it. We all pinned our hopes on the students, with articles popping up talking about the movement as being the start of a wave. Was it to be the movement that we could all rely on to start the change of corporate control on our education and our lives.
The Facebook event page had exploded and soon filled with footage of police brutality, talk of coaches, press statements, arrangements, meetings, banner making workshops and solidarity. The preparation had begun. The night before the students held a meeting and the consensus was to defend the Right to peaceful protest with no violence.
So at 2.00pm on Wednesday the students gathered outside University of London and the energy was electric. Banners and placards had the general message of ACAB and “Cops of Campus”. Blac bloc was represented and anarchist flags fluttered in the wind. Game on…….Pictures of police vans parked up in the back streets, Ambulances and mounted policed circulated the twittersphere. The hype was electric, students were told to keep warm wear scarf and hats, legal advice being retweeted in a frenzie. Speeches were made and the energy united the students went on their journey. After marching down the street chanting and shouting the only people facilitating the demo where the press. A message came through on my phone ”This is weird” Something was going on there were no police, anywhere WTF? The students grouped and went this way and that. A number of students made a very photogenic entrance into senate house and a little bit of spray painting went on on a wheelie bin. Which I have now seen from so many different camera angles on You Tube it feels like it’s part of a BBC production. No campus security was to be seen any where and still not one policeman. Once in the grounds a few students tried very hard to break through some doors by repeatedly ramming it with another wheelie bin. At this point the students had infact become so relaxed their face coverings seemed to all together disappear on some and now the police have great footage of the students damaging property courtesy of the press. Still no security or police…….Hello WTF????????
So that was it really nothing else went down and the police didn’t turn up to the show and no arrests were made. Everybody went home and posted their pictures up on various social media sites and small blogs started to appear about the victory of the students with no arrests and no police presence on site.
Errrrr Am I missing something? Did you get your demands heard ? Did you actually get the Cops off Campus? No the police did not oppose the demo. I am sure the hierarchy in the university did all in their power to try and save face after the discourse and bad press of recent days. A publicity disaster for sure and plenty of meetings took place in the lead up to the demo. Once again the collusion between the police and the University has worked on a number of levels.
1) The students feel that the peaceful protest was a success, this being equated by the fact there were no arrests.
2) The University and police look like they have facilitated peaceful protest which to an extent they did by not opposing it.
So the students held no ground, no occupation, no demands being listened too and they all went home and the University repaired some metal work and replaced a broken window a very cheap price to pay instead of the adverse publicity had the injunction banning the protest been enforced. The shit thing is the students themselves have given enough intel to the police by courting the press, the police really didn’t need to be at the demo they can just review all the footage on you tube.
Oh yeah did I mention a bin got burnt too. The money shot.
- Students in ‘national day of action’ over police violence on campus (theguardian.com)