University bosses have surrendered their conference centre to protesters after activists stormed the building yesterday (February 12).
The students rushed past helpless security guards following a demonstration in response to the University of Sussex’s privatisation of campus jobs.
Around 40 students have occupied the Bramber House building since last Thursday.
When The Argus went to press last night, close to 100 activists remained on the top floor of the conference centre. They are refusing to come down until university bosses agree to end the privatisation of catering and facility management jobs on campus.
The afternoon began with a mass rally attended by some 400 to 500 students, lecturers and staff members.
Addressing the crowd, the university’s Student Union president, Kelly McBride, said: “Absolutely every other available option has been explored.
“We’ve been in conversation with management for months and months and it’s got us absolutely nowhere.
“This kind of action has finally done what months and months of conversation has failed to do.”
The protesters have received hundreds of messages of support from around the world in the last week.
Peter Capaldi, who plays Malcolm Tucker in the award-winning TV show The Thick of It, joined the likes of American writer Noam Chomsky and writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali in offering their support.
Comedian and columnist Mark Steel, pictured above, who attended the march, said: “By sticking together you will have a far better chance of winning when you resist attacks.”
The crowd marched around the campus waving banners and chanting “Sussex united, we’ll never be defeated” and “solidarity forever, occupation makes us stronger” before ending up outside Bramber House.
Following more speeches a small section of protesters made a break for the stairs before being joined by around 100 others.
Security staff watched on helplessly as the activists made their way to the top floor, where they were greeted by their peers.
They are demanding that the university ends its privatisation policy, creates a staff/student scrutiny body and ends what they call “intimidation” shown towards students and members of staff.
A spokeswoman for the university said last night that the campus continued to “run as normal”.
She added that bosses were “reviewing the situation” but had no immediate plans to evict the students.
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