Students plan mass protest at university

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The Independent Online

Students at Cambridge University are planning a mass protest outside their university council tomorrow.

They said the action will be taken in protest at public sector cuts and plans to raise tuition fees.

The protest comes after students occupied a university building for 11 days.

Organisers said the protest will follow on from today's university general assembly which brings together school and university students, academics, trade unionists and residents.

Rosie Gaynor, an engineering student at Peterhouse College, said: "By refusing to negotiate with our occupation or make a statement against the government's cuts to the public sector, the vice-chancellor is standing against the students, academics and staff of this university.

"The vice-chancellor has not only treated us with silence, but also tried to silence our protest by attempting to evict us through the courts.

"We will be protesting outside the council chamber to remind the vice-chancellor that though he has treated us with silence, our campaign is growing all the time."

Amir Khan, a PhD student at Pembroke College, said: "The Government's plans are a disaster for Cambridge - not just students, but everyone who relies on the public sector in any way.

"The university is a huge and influential force: it should be using its status for the good of Cambridge students and residents, not against them."

Today, students at Sheffield University who had taken over a lecture theatre were preparing to leave after bosses won an injunction against them.

The group staged a sit-in in the Richard Roberts lecture theatre on Tuesday after a march past the constituency office of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Between 20 and 100 students occupied the building but agreed to leave by this afternoon after a High Court judge granted the university authorities permission to remove them.

The university said the building was needed for exams tomorrow.

Another person was arrested today in connection with the November 10 protest that saw chaos brought to the streets of London.

The 16-year-old boy was arrested at his home in Walworth, south London, on suspicion of violent disorder and was taken into police custody.

He is the 69th person to be arrested by the Metropolitan Police in connection with the protest. So far one man has been charged and 67 are on bail pending further inquiries.

Meanwhile, a demonstration was held in Bristol city centre attracting around 400 people - the fourth such protest in recent weeks in the city.

Avon and Somerset Police said from the outset some of the group intended to disrupt the city centre. "To prevent disruption early control was placed on a group in Queens Road followed by a negotiated march and assembly on College Green, where peaceful protest took place," a police spokesman said.

"Police maintained close supervision of this group due to a continued risk from a small minority intent on causing disruption.

"We remain committed to upholding the right to peaceful protest but must balance this against the needs and rights of others."

The force said that once again "concerted efforts" were made prior to the event to engage with organisers but this was "sadly not taken up".

Chief Inspector Mark Jackson added: "I would urge organisers of any future events to contact us at an early stage to negotiate a co-ordinated event that meets the needs of the protest group and those of the wider community."