Bramber re-occupied- Birmingham occupation broken up
Approximately 70 students have stormed the conference centre of Bramber House tonight, as they attempt to repeat the eight-week occupation they staged last February.
Those present in the third-floor space told The Badger that they took the action due to their general discontent with management decision-making over the outsourcing of university services.
Students at Birmingham University, who were, until earlier on Thursday occupying a building on their own campus, are said to be “in solidarity” with their counterparts in the South.
They released a twenty-second YouTube video in support of their Sussex comrades.
The Birmingham occupation has since been broken up, following an early-morning raid by Police on Thursday in which fifteen students had been removed.
Catering services on campus have been taken over by private firm Chartwells, while management intend to see through the contracting out of the estates and facilities services to Interserve in January 2014. There had been murmurs that the occupation was a protest against the privatisation of the student loan book.
Co-op and Eat Central were closed early after head of security Roger Morgan decided that, with security presence limited tonight, the safety of staff could be at risk. Management confirmed in an email to staff it was that both outlets will open tomorrow as more robust security arrangements are put in place.
One female student told The Badger while heading out to buy supplies for her fellow occupiers that the group are planning a long-term stay.
However, the Director of Estate Services has since called in police after they claimed to hold video footage of a protester throwing a phone at him. The protesters have asked for the phone – which was then confiscated – to be returned.
Speaking to the protesters at the entrance door to the third floor, the security director claimed that the occupiers acted violently towards him by nearly trapping his hands inside the door. Adriano Marotta then immediately called a meeting with the group to decide on their next course of action.
The University of Sussex Labour Society, which ran into trouble with the group when it opposed a one-day occupation of Arts A1 lecture theatre in October, posted a tweet issuing their “solidarity” to Occupy Sussex.
“The Labour Society are pleased that Occupy have ensured their action directly impacts upon management, with whom they have grievance, rather than students,” said Vice President Ellen Blakemore.