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19th June 2019

Climate activists occupy UoM: As it happened

They’re demanding UoM divest from all fossil fuel companies
Climate activists occupy UoM: As it happened
People and planet protesters occupy UoM. Photo: Emma Whallett

Student climate activists, the People and Planet society, have occupied various areas of the University of Manchester campus – including outside Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell’s office.

People and Planet say the occupation is due to the University hosting the annual conference of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) which awards European higher education on their sustainability.

Members of the UCU, the trade union which represents university teaching and academic staff, are also participating in the occupation.

Their demands include the University divest from all fossil fuel companies, with People and Planet claiming the University has £11.3 million invested in various extraction firms, including BP and Shell.

The activists say they will occupy the space outside Nancy Rothwell’s office until she speaks to them directly. She is not thought to be in work until Friday, so the protesters will have to stay in the space 24 hours a day.

In a recent interview with The Mancunion, Rothwell said the University “continually review” their investment portfolio, but also said she doesn’t “want to make a gesture, if you like, just to keep some people happy when the bigger issue, and it is a big issue… is that we’ve got to reduce our use of fossil fuels.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “The University of Manchester supports the right of any student to protest peacefully and legally. However, our responsibility as a University is to ensure that we do everything we can to minimise disruption to other students and to our staff.”

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