London students want police off campus. They are displeased over police monitoring on school grounds and are protesting against police abuse of power on Wednesday, which the students say included a cop assaulting a student. Today, up to 300 angry students gathered at a “Cops off Campus” demonstration at the University of London Union, when police suddenly started arresting some of the students.
Police arrested thirty-six students and many more during the disorderly demonstration. Two of the students arrested, reportedly, assaulted a police officer – another 34 students for “breach of the peace” and fighting. Police transported all of them to stations scattered around south London.
While bad weather was the reason that many protesters went home, police diverted others to Euston Square station and transported them into more than twenty vans. The heated demonstration included protesters that stemmed from distances, reaching into Coventry. Minor injuries were reported among three police officers.
“The police were almost just looking for a fight after last night; they’re all pretty het up about it.” Said Bo Franklin, age 20, as he observed the situation. “It all sort of reached a head when they started kettling people. I think [Wednesday’s protest] got a lot more people to realise what was happening,” he said.
According to Independent, University of London Union President Michael Chessum said that the atmosphere has been angry, it’s been vibrant, he said. He said that he thinks there’s a sort of new movement build-up that he sees a spark in the students he hasn’t seen in two years and that people are just going to keep returning.
A police spokesperson is encouraging people to come forward with information regarding the behavior of the officers at the “Cops off Campus” demonstration. The spokesperson said they have received no official complaints.
Police arrested London student editor Oscar Webb while he was giving reports regarding the protest. The National Union of Journalists has come out to support Webb. “Journalists have a right to investigate and report, and the public has a right to be informed. The NUJ will do all it can to ensure this right is upheld,” said Roy Minoff, a legal officer at the NUJ.
By Christina Ibbotson