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Posted on 5 December 2013 at 11:42 GMT

Students condemn police repression and call for a demonstration to defend democratic rights

Socialist Students, an organisation central to the 2010 student movement against tuition fees, has strongly condemned the recent wave of repression against students protesting during the last week. Students from the group, who have been involved in the occupations and protests that have taken place over the last week, have said that the heavy handed and often violent police response, organised in collusion with university managements, is an 'affront to democracy'.

Queen Mary University Socialist Students member Kris Statham, arrested yesterday, said:

"Students occupying the University of London's Senate house experienced brutal and violent treatment at the hands of the police. Many were punched, kicked and pushed in an attempt to protect a university management facing protest in part sparked by attacks on student representation and democracy. I believe that my arrest forms part of a campaign of intimidation and is just one example of a concerted attempt to criminalise protest. Like all others involved in the demonstrations at the University of London, I participated to peacefully oppose the shutting down of my student union, to protest against the privatisation of the student loan book, and to express solidarity with campus workers who had taken strike action earlier in the week.

"I find it shocking that this level of force has been used to remove students from our own campus. Universities, once considered places where critical thinking, debate and dissent were welcome, are fast becoming authoritarian and repressive. But we will not be cowed. I will be part of the fight to defend the right to protest both on and off campus and support calls by Socialist Students and others, for a demonstration focusing on defending the right to protest to be called by the National Union of Students (NUS)."

Edmund Schluessel, Socialist Students member and NUS National Executive Councillor, said:

"This week we have seen a ratcheting up of repressive measures used to undermine student protest. Protesters peacefully occupying the University of London's Senate House were brutally evicted by the police and several were arrested. Meanwhile, at Sussex University, management have outrageously suspended five students deemed 'ringleaders' in the campaign against privatisation. This is an affront to democracy. That's why I'm one of those demanding a protest against this repression, and believe my union, the NUS, should organise it."

Kris, Edmund and other Socialist Students members are available for interview. Call 07757207289 to arrange it.

www.socialiststudents.org.uk

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