Brighton (UK): (Last) Statement from Occupation

Today we saw how far the University management are willing to go to suppress protest on campus. At 11am this morning bailiffs, accompanied by a staggering number of police, arrived on campus to evict students who have been occupying the Bramber House Conference Centre since February 7th. After the occupiers peacefully left the building chanting and singing, four students were arrested and many others were abused at the hands of the police.

A violent response at the hands of the police, heavily backed by university management, is completely unacceptable. Every time we see this sort of response by police against student protest we are shocked at their heavy handedness against students. Today the overwhelming numbers of police and bailiffs deployed were truly shocking and utterly disproportionate. The commodification of higher education institutions reflects the ConDem government’s ideological stance on privatisation, which is evidenced by their move to privatise the NHS. The right to protest is also under threat through the restriction of access to legal aid nationally as of yesterday. Protesters must not be cowed by the violence experienced at the hands of the police, who are representing a state which clearly does not have the needs of its people at heart.

The campaign against the privatisation of 235 jobs on campus has been underway for ten months now, and is still going from strength to strength. We will not be deterred by the repressive measures of University management. In fact it is the disproportionate nature of management’s response to protest that shows just how afraid of us they really are. For months they have tried to ignore us in the hope that we would go away, but we have shown them that we are going nowhere. We left them with no choice but to take us seriously.
The university has been unwilling to engage openly and democratically with the concerns that have been raised about the job stability of vital members of our community and the commodification of our learning environment. We need to make our voices heard. We will challenge this crack-down on democratic dissent by any means necessary while continuing to direct all focus onto the main issue at hand: saving our community. The campaign against privatisation will continue, not deterred but strengthened by today’s events.