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3rd February 2014

Student protestors and police clash in Birmingham

The lastest protest at the University of Birmingham caused outrage on both sides

Thirteen people have been arrested at a national students protest at the University of Birmingham.

Three men have been charged with violent disorder following the protest, led by Defend Education Birmingham.

Authorities say the protest turned violent, injuring staff and damaging campus property. The protestors have also been accused of throwing fireworks and smoke bombs.

However, students have accused police of kettling them for four hours in the cold and arresting those who refused to give personal details, which the police deny.

In a statement, Birmingham University said: “The university had no choice but to ask the police for assistance in restoring order and protecting students, staff and university property.

“While peaceful protest is part of university life, the university cannot tolerate behaviour that causes harm to individuals, damage to property or significant disruption to our university community.”

Students at Birmingham University are still taking part in a sit-in protest at the university’s Horton Grange Conference centre despite several being threatened with expulsion from the university.

Last Wednesday a 50 foot protest banner was tied to the university’s Clock Tower.

The Guild of Students at Birmingham University have released a statement, saying: “The Guild is extremely disappointed with the action at today’s demonstration.

“We wish to reiterate that this was not a Guild organised protest nor is the Guild affiliated to the campaign group Defend Education”.

They added: “Whilst we oppose cuts to higher education, we do not condone the action taken today. It is unacceptable that this has negatively impacted on our students”.

However, Hattie Craig, Vice-President (Education) at Birmingham’s Guild of Students, has fought back against this statement.

In a Facebook post, she said: “where is the condemnation of students being kettled for 4 hours in the cold and rain? Where is the outrage that they were refused water, food or access to toilets?

“Where is criticism of the police for wrongfully arresting students? Where is the outcry against the actions of security […] when one student was pulled to the floor by her hair whilst shouting “peaceful”? Where is the indignation that a student collapsed in the kettle and the police refused to allow an ambulance onto campus?

“The statement says the Guild is disappointed with yesterday’s actions; I am disappointed with the Guild”.

Defend Education Birmingham has called for further protests in the coming weeks, alongside staff strikes.

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