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Published on Feb 2, 2009
The peaceful protest occupation in solidarity with Gaza of lecture theatre B62 ended abruptly last night when senior management instructed security guards to forcefully evict the protesters.
After a weekend of being locked into a small section of the Law and Social Sciences building, power cuts, and a threat of disciplinary measures; the University management decided to forcefully evict the protesters. At 6pm today (Sunday, 1 Feb 2009) on the 5th evening of the occupation security personnel accompanied by senior members of University management entered the occupied theatre. The students were told they had two minutes to leave and there was no opportunity given for discussion. Within this time the team (of approximately 12) from Nottingham Security began physically removing the protesters. The protesters seated themselves on the floor and passively resisted their efforts. Approximately 25 of the protesters were dragged from the building, some receiving carpet burns and bruised limbs from being placed in restraining positions.
Cameras were physically removed from the grasp of a few of the protesters and there is currently no footage or photos of the removal. The BBC were reportedly denied permission to access campus in a blatant act of censorship by the University. As they were being removed a student began to inform the police of events. When they arrived the police kept the protesters outside the north entrance of the Law and Social Sciences building, however they did not address any student claims of assault. The head of university security addressed the protesters and said they would be allowed in one at a time to retrieve their jackets and other items of property, but only if they showed their student ID.. Another security person said that no personal details would be taken (footage available) however once inside it was discovered that this was not the case. Anyone wishing to retrieve their property had to have their names and student numbers recorded. All of this took close to three hours, the students were forced to endure sub-zero temperatures and snowfall. Some simply decided to abandon their property from fear of punishment or due to weather conditions. Especially after the peaceful nature of their protest many of the students are consulting legal advice following the use of, what they considered, excessive force that caused some physical injuries.
Once again, the University of Nottingham distinguishes itself by acting in the most repressive and disgraceful manner against what was a very peaceful, very civil expression of dissent. This is yet another example of the University Authorities trying to enforce a homogeneous culture of apathy and consent across the student body. Students who engage with the realities of this world are seen as a threat to the University's PR image of enforced servility parading as stability.
The protest has not disrupted any lectures. The room was available for lectures at all times and many lecturers and students verified the fact themselves. The University is to blame for any disruption as they are the ones who cancelled the lectures without consulting the students or the lecturers. As seen in previous episodes such as the AUT graylisting and the Freedom of Speech protests, it is obvious the views and opinions of staff and students mean nothing to the authorities of this institution.