Hundreds of people turned up to a demonstration to pledge their support for seven students facing expulsion after they stopped Cherie Booth attending a dinner at the University of Sussex.

Four of the "Sussex Seven" charged with bringing the university into disrepute received letters yesterday with news their disciplinary hearings will take place on Monday.

The remaining three have the additional charge of gaining forceable entrance and are still waiting for a date to be set for their hearing. All seven face the expulsion, fines or community service.

Cherie, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, was due to be guest speaker at Lord Attenborough's Chancellor's Dinner in November, but students staged a sit-in at the university restaurant to protest about tuition fees.

Security, police and Lord Attenborough tried to get the students to move but failed to halt the protest and Cherie was contacted at home and asked not to attend.

But mystery surrounds the seventh member of the group who the fellow six say was not with them on the night of the dinner.More than 40 students took part in the demonstration on the night

of the dinner, but only seven have been identified.

Students have vowed to battle on and will protest again on Monday outside the hearings when a petition with more than 1,000

signatures will be presented to university chiefs.

A spokesman for the university said: "We will be going ahead with the disciplinary hearings as planned for the seven students who we believe were present on the night."

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