Edinburgh students 'removed and detained' ahead of Princess Anne's visit

"Security completely over-reacted," claims witness as two students are held

Two students have reacted with disgust after they were removed from campus buildings and detained by royal protection officers ahead of a visit from Princess Anne on Tuesday.

Hona-Luisa Cohen-Fuentes and Euan Kidston had been studying in the university's Old College buildings when they were removed by staff further to the imminent arrival of the princess, who is the university chancellor.

According to Edinburgh University Students’ Association trustee Mike Shaw, who wasn't present at the time, the students were told: “We have someone really important coming here, we can’t have the likes of you roaming around.”

It is also claimed that university staff told Cohen-Fuentes, a female international student, that she “could be any random scum off the street" and "I hope you get deported".

The pair were then met by armed Royalty Protection Officers and police in the building’s historic quad, and were subject to a full body search.

Kidston, a third-year anthropology student said: “I’m still in shock. We were quietly studying and had no idea the building was closing. There was no need for violence, we were happy to find somewhere else to study".

Cohen-Fuentes said: ”I was reading philosophy when I was assaulted in a building I assumed to be safe, before being put in a prison cell.

“They asked us for our student cards. I didn’t have mine but Euan had his. We were not at any point asked to leave; we were removed.”

Like Shaw, Cohen-Fuentes is a EUSA trustee, and is associated with the leftist political group Defend Edinburgh.

A PhD student at the university, who witnessed the event but wished to withhold his name, said: "I arrived at Old College around the time the police did.

"I believe they were detained under the Suspicion of Terrorism Act. They were put into a police van and taken to St Leonard's Police Station and were held there.

"The situation was farcical - security completely over-reacted. I presume they had been told to secure the building but they hadn't. Doors were left unlocked, there were no signs or staff at the entrance.”

A source from Police Scotland said: "During a security check at an Edinburgh University venue, two people were found within a restricted area.

“The individuals were detained as to their unauthorised presence within an area they were not permitted to be within. At no point were they detained under terrorism legislation. When officers were satisfied of their intentions, they were released without charge.

"The students were not forcibly removed but detained".

The "restricted area" referenced by the police was created due to the fact that Princess Anne had a temporary office in Old College last Tuesday, close to where the students were studying.

Princess Anne’s position as chancellor of the university has been opposed by many since her appointment in 2011. In September 2011, protesters staged a sit-in, to hijack her inauguration ceremony.

Since January 2013, EUSA has actively called for her resignation and a new democratic election process.

The Playfair Library, where the pair were reading, is not conventionally used as study space. Although the room is normally accessible to students, it is sometimes closed off due to functions and meetings.

In a statement Edinburgh University said: "At a time of heightened security in relation to the chancellor's visit to the university, two students were escorted from Old College as they could not provide a satisfactory explanation for their presence in a part of the building that is a restricted area. "

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape