Video: Anger as students storm into University of Sussex

The Argus: Students clash with police outside Sussex House Students clash with police outside Sussex House

By Ben James and Alastair Reid

Students clashed with police yesterday (March 25) as university protesters staged their largest demonstration to date about outsourcing.

Around 1,000 gathered at the University of Sussex’s Falmer campus before balaclava-clad activists stormed the main administration building and looted and set fire to some of the contents.

Police in riot gear tried to keep protesters at bay but had to withdraw after becoming overwhelmed and outnumbered. Reinforcements were called but senior officers decided not to use them.

The demonstration was called to protest against privatisation at the university and across the country as a whole.

The University of Sussex has become a focal point for the anti-privatisation movement following the six-week-long occupation of the university’s Bramber House building.

Students are protesting against the outsourcing of 235 campus jobs to private contractors.

A spokesman for the occupiers said students from across the country had travelled by coach to take part in the “important and momentous” day.

He said: “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.”

'Shocking and appalling'

John Duffy, registrar and secretary of the university, called the violent nature of the protest “shocking and appalling” and labelled student organisers “irresponsible”.

The day had begun peacefully with speakers in the campus’s Library Square.

Among those talking were North Ayrshire and Arran MP Katy Clark and Alfie Meadows, who suffered serious injuries in the 2010 student protests.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas also had a statement read on her behalf.

Turned ugly

Following the rallying calls, the protesters began marching around the campus’s scattered buildings, lighting flares and fireworks and carrying banners.

At Sussex House security staff had boarded up windows and organised for police to stand on the other side of the glass doors.

Within minutes the mood of the march turned ugly and activists in balaclavas began to smash the glass with placards and sticks.

Dozens of police officers moved in to try to disperse the crowd but after a line of protesters met them face on and coins began to be hurled, they withdrew to put on riot gear.

Videos by Nicholas Webb

Smashed in

They then stood and watched as around 100 protesters smashed their way into Sussex House, set up barricades with furniture and began looting.

One masked activist who had sprayed “Occupy” in yellow paint in the stairwell of the building, said: “It was originally going to be a peaceful student protest. As per standard it escalates a little bit.”

A small group grabbed a pile of admin folders and set fire to them outside the entrance as they tried to hold off police.

The students withdrew to their original occupation point at Bramber House where some smashed through a second section of the top floor to take control of more of the building.

'No excuse'

Meanwhile, just 100 metres from Sussex House, a female student was lying unconscious at the bottom of concrete steps.

Onlookers said that she had collapsed and was known to have a heart condition. She was speaking to paramedics as she was loaded into the ambulance.

Mr Duffy said: “We cannot tolerate today’s violent behaviour. There is no excuse.”

A police spokeswoman said that no arrests were made and that there were no injuries.

See The Argus live updates from the protest.

Police defence

Last night police chiefs defended their handling of the protest.

Instead of calling in reinforcements or clearing the protesters with police dogs or batons, officers stood and watched as activists broke into Sussex House.

A force spokeswoman said: “Officers acted in the way they did because at no point was there a threat to life or injury.

“The protesters were just intent on getting in that building and occupying it. For us to use batons on people would have been disproportionate.

“If for example they had been causing harm to others, we perhaps would have acted differently.

“For example, with March for England, they were setting fire to bins which had potential to cause harm to others.

“But this was criminal damage with no intent to cause harm to others.

“All these decisions have to made in the heat of the moment and nobody was injured which is a good outcome.

“We would like to think that the university understand our reasons.”

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Comments (24)

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12:53pm Tue 26 Mar 13

charlie smirke says...

In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country?
In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country? charlie smirke

1:06pm Tue 26 Mar 13

AmboGuy says...

The students behaved like rabid animals.

There are people around the world who will never have any access to getting an education who would love to get the opportunity these people are getting. Like the previous person said the people responsible should be thrown out of University. I do wonder,however, how much of the damage was done by the students and how much was done by the SmashEDO thugs instead.
The students behaved like rabid animals. There are people around the world who will never have any access to getting an education who would love to get the opportunity these people are getting. Like the previous person said the people responsible should be thrown out of University. I do wonder,however, how much of the damage was done by the students and how much was done by the SmashEDO thugs instead. AmboGuy

1:06pm Tue 26 Mar 13

BornInBrighton1968 says...

charlie smirke wrote:
In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country?
Yes, but the ridiculous thing is this; if they plagiarise or copy work, students can be removed from their course and thrown-out of the university.

However, the brats who have engaged in this violent and anti-social behaviour will no doubt receive absolutely no sanction whatever from the university
[quote][p][bold]charlie smirke[/bold] wrote: In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country?[/p][/quote]Yes, but the ridiculous thing is this; if they plagiarise or copy work, students can be removed from their course and thrown-out of the university. However, the brats who have engaged in this violent and anti-social behaviour will no doubt receive absolutely no sanction whatever from the university BornInBrighton1968

1:10pm Tue 26 Mar 13

paul76 says...

Students travelled from other universities to protest. You mean they bought in people who wanted to riot from other countries, like a rent a mob idea that is used in other protest when they turn violent.

I agree with Charlie Smirke, kick those involved off of their courses, prosecute them and deport any that are not legally allowed to stay in the country now they are not on a uni course.
Students travelled from other universities to protest. You mean they bought in people who wanted to riot from other countries, like a rent a mob idea that is used in other protest when they turn violent. I agree with Charlie Smirke, kick those involved off of their courses, prosecute them and deport any that are not legally allowed to stay in the country now they are not on a uni course. paul76

1:10pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Metro Reader says...

Police in riot gear tried to keep protesters at bay but had to withdraw after becoming overwhelmed and outnumbered. Reinforcements were called but senior officers decided not to use them. -

WHY!

Also the police in the video are not in Public Order Kit, judging by their hats.
Police in riot gear tried to keep protesters at bay but had to withdraw after becoming overwhelmed and outnumbered. Reinforcements were called but senior officers decided not to use them. - WHY! Also the police in the video are not in Public Order Kit, judging by their hats. Metro Reader

1:13pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Cycling commuter says...

Why can't peacefully protest? They just make themselves look stupid with this kind of action.
Why can't peacefully protest? They just make themselves look stupid with this kind of action. Cycling commuter

1:24pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Stripes says...

'Officers stood and watched as activists broke into Sussex House'.

Wow, just wow.
'Officers stood and watched as activists broke into Sussex House'. Wow, just wow. Stripes

1:33pm Tue 26 Mar 13

hovian says...

I have long thought there is no enforcement of anything in Brighton...and now we hear the police just stood around and watched - just like the riots... what kind of message does this send out..? Hey - come to Brighton - do whatever you like - and nobody will bother you...
I have long thought there is no enforcement of anything in Brighton...and now we hear the police just stood around and watched - just like the riots... what kind of message does this send out..? Hey - come to Brighton - do whatever you like - and nobody will bother you... hovian

1:58pm Tue 26 Mar 13

lordenglandofsussex says...

Many of these are paid activists and are connected to Labour funded organisations. The Labour Party is a destructive and evil entity in Britain today.
Many of these are paid activists and are connected to Labour funded organisations. The Labour Party is a destructive and evil entity in Britain today. lordenglandofsussex

2:16pm Tue 26 Mar 13

mickage says...

Well done the protesters.....someb
ody standing up against the creeping menace of privatization .......here in the USA the prisons have become privitised so now their profits depend on how many are in jail, so of USA has highest incarceration rate in world, costing taxpayers a fortune.....privitis
ation costs a lot more in the long run and breaks down social structure and employment benefits.
I say more protests against privitisation of any industry of any kind.....
Well done the protesters.....someb ody standing up against the creeping menace of privatization .......here in the USA the prisons have become privitised so now their profits depend on how many are in jail, so of USA has highest incarceration rate in world, costing taxpayers a fortune.....privitis ation costs a lot more in the long run and breaks down social structure and employment benefits. I say more protests against privitisation of any industry of any kind..... mickage

2:17pm Tue 26 Mar 13

mimseycal says...

Forget the reason for a moment and look on the bright side ... You've probably never had that many students attending.

I'll get me coat.
Forget the reason for a moment and look on the bright side ... You've probably never had that many students attending. I'll get me coat. mimseycal

2:21pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Ballroom Blitz says...

The ploce should have cracked a few heads together, and deployed a baton charge or two. Thing is, these activists know they won't.
I wonder how many people involved in the protest were actually students at the university?
Sounds like the usual Smash EDO lot jumped on the bandwagon, to have another chance of getting into a ruck with the police.
The university aren't going to change their minds. This is a complete waste of time. How about getting back to studying, after all, that's what you are supposed to be there for.
There are people in foreign countries who would give anything to be in your privileged position, but don't let that worry you, you selfish, egotistical brats.
The ploce should have cracked a few heads together, and deployed a baton charge or two. Thing is, these activists know they won't. I wonder how many people involved in the protest were actually students at the university? Sounds like the usual Smash EDO lot jumped on the bandwagon, to have another chance of getting into a ruck with the police. The university aren't going to change their minds. This is a complete waste of time. How about getting back to studying, after all, that's what you are supposed to be there for. There are people in foreign countries who would give anything to be in your privileged position, but don't let that worry you, you selfish, egotistical brats. Ballroom Blitz

2:42pm Tue 26 Mar 13

mimseycal says...

An article by Maia Pal, a Doctor in International Relations and Associate Tutor at the University of Sussex, about this occupation has been published in OurKingdom: Power and Liberty in Britain

http://www.opendemoc
racy.net/ourkingdom/
maia-pal/outsourcing
-battle-at-sussex-un
i-censorship-dictat-
and-mutation-of-mana
gerialism
An article by Maia Pal, a Doctor in International Relations and Associate Tutor at the University of Sussex, about this occupation has been published in OurKingdom: Power and Liberty in Britain http://www.opendemoc racy.net/ourkingdom/ maia-pal/outsourcing -battle-at-sussex-un i-censorship-dictat- and-mutation-of-mana gerialism mimseycal

6:26pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Dr.Draconian says...

There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire!
There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire! Dr.Draconian

9:36pm Tue 26 Mar 13

AmboGuy says...

Dr.Draconian wrote:
There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire!
Really? You're actually serious aren't you, I don't believe it but I think you are!

So students have been smashing up the university and you don't think the police should be there? Now read your comment again and think about just how stupid you sound to the rest of us.
[quote][p][bold]Dr.Draconian[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire![/p][/quote]Really? You're actually serious aren't you, I don't believe it but I think you are! So students have been smashing up the university and you don't think the police should be there? Now read your comment again and think about just how stupid you sound to the rest of us. AmboGuy

11:30pm Tue 26 Mar 13

charlie smirke says...

AmboGuy wrote:
Dr.Draconian wrote:
There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire!
Really? You're actually serious aren't you, I don't believe it but I think you are!

So students have been smashing up the university and you don't think the police should be there? Now read your comment again and think about just how stupid you sound to the rest of us.
I also thought doctor death was joking. but I think you're right, he really is that stupid!
[quote][p][bold]AmboGuy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr.Draconian[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire![/p][/quote]Really? You're actually serious aren't you, I don't believe it but I think you are! So students have been smashing up the university and you don't think the police should be there? Now read your comment again and think about just how stupid you sound to the rest of us.[/p][/quote]I also thought doctor death was joking. but I think you're right, he really is that stupid! charlie smirke

2:46am Wed 27 Mar 13

redwing says...

charlie smirke wrote:
In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country?
The Bullingdon bunch in the current Cabinet who all had the most privileged of educations, have in their short time in office, exacted (along with their City friends) vandalism and looting of this country that students miserably and thankfully fail to emulate.
[quote][p][bold]charlie smirke[/bold] wrote: In my opinion, those responsible for the criminal damage should be thrown out of the Uni and prosecuted. They are not deserving of a privileged education. Who wants people who resort to violence, in any future position of influence or authority in this country?[/p][/quote]The Bullingdon bunch in the current Cabinet who all had the most privileged of educations, have in their short time in office, exacted (along with their City friends) vandalism and looting of this country that students miserably and thankfully fail to emulate. redwing

2:58am Wed 27 Mar 13

greenpaws says...

Education is about teaching people to think for themselves.

The government is imprisoning people who squat when homeless and people are dying through not squatting and 4,000 a year are dying after being declared fit for work.

The government has crossed the red line. The public have had enough. In less than a weeks time, families will start to be evicted, people will go hungry or cold due to benefit changes. Suicides will continue to climb and more will die.

I have absolute respect and support the students who are standing up for those who don't have loud voices and defending people over profit!

It's time to ignore the right-wing nutters who comment on here and demand we have a fair and caring society. Protest in anyway you can.

Together the government cannot continue to enslave us with high rents, unfair taxes, benefit cuts and ever decreasing living standards.

Society's problems are notthat of benefit claimants, immigrants or the working class. It is landlords, tax avoiders, multi-national businesses, the government, free market treaties/organisatio
ns.

The time has come to make changes and not just keep asking politely while we get slapped in the face and kicked!
Education is about teaching people to think for themselves. The government is imprisoning people who squat when homeless and people are dying through not squatting and 4,000 a year are dying after being declared fit for work. The government has crossed the red line. The public have had enough. In less than a weeks time, families will start to be evicted, people will go hungry or cold due to benefit changes. Suicides will continue to climb and more will die. I have absolute respect and support the students who are standing up for those who don't have loud voices and defending people over profit! It's time to ignore the right-wing nutters who comment on here and demand we have a fair and caring society. Protest in anyway you can. Together the government cannot continue to enslave us with high rents, unfair taxes, benefit cuts and ever decreasing living standards. Society's problems are notthat of benefit claimants, immigrants or the working class. It is landlords, tax avoiders, multi-national businesses, the government, free market treaties/organisatio ns. The time has come to make changes and not just keep asking politely while we get slapped in the face and kicked! greenpaws

3:04am Wed 27 Mar 13

mickage says...

All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights....
support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom .......
All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights.... support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom ....... mickage

9:09am Wed 27 Mar 13

charlie smirke says...

I believe in the right to Peaceful Protest but these days, it always seems to descend into violence. Violence cannot be the way to solve anything and it alienates those who might otherwise have been sympathetic to their cause. Surely we have to maintain some sort of law and order or shall we just let the country descend into anarchy?
I believe in the right to Peaceful Protest but these days, it always seems to descend into violence. Violence cannot be the way to solve anything and it alienates those who might otherwise have been sympathetic to their cause. Surely we have to maintain some sort of law and order or shall we just let the country descend into anarchy? charlie smirke

12:08pm Wed 27 Mar 13

AmboGuy says...

mickage wrote:
All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights....
support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom .......
Yes protests are needed but protests against privatisation of jobs at a university are not.

Could you explain to me how students and members of SmashEDO breaking windows, fighting with the Police and smashing up furniture protects my future rights and freedom?
[quote][p][bold]mickage[/bold] wrote: All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights.... support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom .......[/p][/quote]Yes protests are needed but protests against privatisation of jobs at a university are not. Could you explain to me how students and members of SmashEDO breaking windows, fighting with the Police and smashing up furniture protects my future rights and freedom? AmboGuy

12:13pm Wed 27 Mar 13

rolivan says...

Dr.Draconian wrote:
There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire!
So if it isn't a Public place why the protest against Privatisation?It should also be made illegal to wear masks at protests
[quote][p][bold]Dr.Draconian[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no justification for police officers to be there. It's not a public place & those students should be allowed to protest in whatever way they desire![/p][/quote]So if it isn't a Public place why the protest against Privatisation?It should also be made illegal to wear masks at protests rolivan

12:35pm Wed 27 Mar 13

rolivan says...

mickage wrote:
All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights....
support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom .......
Why the need for masks is it because their benefits might be cancelled if they aren't out looking for a job?
[quote][p][bold]mickage[/bold] wrote: All of you posting anti-protest comments......you and your family wouldn't have the vote, the education system, health care, pensions, etc, etc... if wasn't for protestors in years gone by fighting for these basic rights.... support protest of all kinds to protect YOUR future rights and freedom .......[/p][/quote]Why the need for masks is it because their benefits might be cancelled if they aren't out looking for a job? rolivan

11:11pm Fri 29 Mar 13

PeterBensley says...

rolivan wrote:

Why the need for masks is it because their benefits might be cancelled if they aren't out looking for a job?


Several people covered their faces because they didn't want to end up on this police database of known protesters:

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
1223026/Police-compi
ling-database-protes
ters-committed-crime
s.html
rolivan wrote: [quote]Why the need for masks is it because their benefits might be cancelled if they aren't out looking for a job?[/quote] Several people covered their faces because they didn't want to end up on this police database of known protesters: http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 1223026/Police-compi ling-database-protes ters-committed-crime s.html PeterBensley

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