Thursday 5 December 2013

Young Greens support ULU and Sussex University protests

Near Senate House, Bloomsbury, London this evening

The Young Greens have strongly condemned the ‘brutal’ treatment of protesters by police at the University of London on Wednesday, as well as the suspension of five students at the University of Sussex following a campus occupation.

The Young Greens National Committee, which represents thousands of Green Party members, has written to Sussex Against Privatisation in support and will be writing to the Vice Chancellor today, as well as to the University of London Union activists and management.

The Sussex campaigners were fighting the outsourcing of Sussex services to private companies and in support of fair pay following a national strike by university staff, with the suspensions taking place after an occupation of Bramber House.

At the University of London, students were occupying Senate House on Malet Street against the forced closure of the students’ union by UoL management, as well as pushing for decent conditions for outsourced cleaning staff. Three students at were arrested after more than 100 officers armed with batons broke up the sit-in.

Siobhan MacMahon, Young Greens Co-Chair, said:

 “The heavy-handed actions by police against University of London students standing up for their union are a disgrace. Punching and dragging young people to the ground over a peaceful occupation must be utterly condemned as wholly disproportionate, brutal and wrong.

“At the same time, we wholeheartedly back those protesting as the University of Sussex in opposition to outsourcing of services and staff and in support of fair pay for staff who have faced years of real-terms pay cuts.

“The suspension of five students over their involvement in the occupation is a shocking and unjustifiable decision by management and we call on them to reinstate those suspended immediately, joining with the hundreds protesting for justice for the ‘Sussex Five’.

“The Young Greens express our total support and solidarity for students defending their right to protest across the country and oppose the worrying trend in recent months towards disproportionate action against peaceful protest on campuses.

“We have seen police attempting to recruit students to spy on each other in Cambridge, the arrest of Michael Chessum – the President of ULU (as well as the arrest of Vice President Daniel Cooper) and even violent police responses to students using chalk to spread their message. Young people must resist the clampdown on democratic dissent.

“The Greens are the only party standing up to these attacks and are proud to back actions everywhere against the education system being run as a private enterprise instead of a public good.”

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