London

Arrests after University of London Union 'occupation'

  • 5 December 2013
  • From the section London

Thirty six people have been arrested after a demonstration over the closure of a London students' union and the rights of university staff.

Protesters occupied parts of University of London's HQ at Senate House in Malet Street, Bloomsbury, on Wednesday.

There have been claims from ULU that police were "heavy-handed" with protesters. The University of London has said protesters were "aggressive".

The demonstrations continued on Thursday outside ULU.

'Hitting and shoving'

The students who occupied ULU are calling for better pay and working conditions for outsourced staff at the university.

They are also against a plan to end ULU's role as a political hub for students.

Demonstrations continued outside the University of London Union on Thursday

ULU president Michael Chessum said officers and university security staff were "hitting people and shoving people" who were taking part in a peaceful protest.

"I saw a level of police violence and violence from university security staff that I have not seen for a very long time, if ever."

The Met Police said officers were called to prevent a breach of peace, and the force had not received any complaints about the actions of officers at the protests.

'Aggressive act'

The university said protesters sealed fire escapes and refused to leave parts of Senate House until various demands were met. Staff had to lock themselves in their offices for safety, it added.

ULU president Michael Chessum said the protest was peaceful until security staff arrived

Protesters were issued with an ultimatum to leave the occupied buildings at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday and after they refused to leave security staff forcibly evicted them, the university said.

University secretary Chris Cobb said: "This was a disgraceful and aggressive act, which placed the safety of our staff at risk."

He said the university would not "enter into a dialogue" with anyone "who adopts this approach".

In May, it was decided that from summer 2014, ULU would lose its role as a student union with elected officers but would retain social facilities.

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