At around 6 O’Clock this morning, approximately 40 students began an occupation of the Aston Webb building at the University of Birmingham in support of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC).
According to a statement on their website, the aim of the occupation was to highlight “the right to free education, to protest and to housing” and a list of eight demands was set out to accompany this.
The historic Aston Webb building is home to the office of the Vice Chancellor and the Senate Chamber, both of which were under occupation. Other offices and lecture theatres were also involved in the protest, which led to University Security restricting student access to the building.
By one o’clock this afternoon, the protesters were reminded of the former injunction against occupations that was put in place after last year’s protests. This came in the form of a letter from the University, which was posted on Facebook, asking them to “leave the Property immediately” as they had “not been given permission [to] occupy the premises”.
Earlier today, the University issued a statement to BurnFM, highlighting how the protest had caused disruption to visiting school pupils and to staff and students who had limited access to blocked off exits.
Making reference to the school visit in an article, the NCAFC said that they were “glad that they had the opportunity to see the true side of higher education due to our action.”
In an extract from their most recent statement to BurnFM, the University said:
“We are extremely disappointed that the illegal action of a small number of masked individuals caused considerable disruption to students, staff and visitors and are grateful to the police for their swift response in bringing this matter to a close.”
Ten hours of protesting was brought to an end after Police evicted the protesters from the building. In a statement, West Midlands Police said that no arrests had yet been made and that enquiries continue.
Whilst there were initially plans for further demonstrations to be held on campus tomorrow, an anonymous source has since told BurnFM that these have been cancelled.