Around 1,000 students from around the country have joined forces at Sussex University to protest against privatisation and outsourcing, which has seen campaigners expand their occupation of Bramber House and break the glass door of a university building.
The protest is the latest episode in the Occupy Sussex group’s year-long campaign to halt the outsourcing of 10 per cent of the University’s workforce which has attracted the attention of world-renowned academics and celebrities.
A spokesman for the occupation said: "Today marks an important and momentous day in the history of resistance at Sussex University and in the United Kingdom. At 1pm today, students from across the country stand alongside academics, university staff and others in a mass display of solidarity and express anger at the management of Sussex University."
Students from UCL, Exeter, Manchester, Warwick, Bristol, Portsmouth and various others had arrived by coach and train to join in the protest.
The day's protesting has so far been peaceful in the main. However, a handful of protesters wearing masks broke through the door of Sussex House, before burning a small pile of documents from administrative offices, in a bonfire outside. Rumours circulated that these were dissertations, but eye-witnesses have confirmed that these are believed to be non-academic papers.
Police quickly regained control of the building following brief scuffles between students and the authorities.
Those involved in the protest insisted that despite the incident at Sussex House the majority of the protest had been peaceful and were quick to point out that the incident involved only a very small number of campaigners.
“I’m disappointed that a minority of protesters have undermined the brilliant message of this movement. What they did today was counterproductive and makes our battle all the more difficult,” commented Paul Millar
A few students took to Twitter to oppose the actions, which are agreed to be those of a minority of protesters.
‘Way to undermine your protest with violent action, good luck being taken seriously now’ tweeted history student Drewe Wilson.
Following the protest outside of Sussex House the group moved onto Bramber House, which has been occupied for almost two months, where, according to eye witnesses, they met no resistance and consequently expanded their occupation to the entire conference room.
The Occupy Sussex group have said that their 'National General Meeting [is] soon to start in the enlarged occupation, [with] over 650 people talking about how we fight back.'