University of Nottingham (UoN) students protested at University Park Campus on Wednesday 11th December as part of a National Day of Action to end police violence and intimidation of peaceful student protesters.

The National Day of Action was in response to the police “brutality” carried out against students in London on 5th December 2013. Many of those who demonstrated in Bloomsbury to demand fair wages for workers at the University of London were subjected to beatings by the police.

Over 40 students were also arrested. A High Court order then banned any further protests in London universities.

At the University of Sheffield and the University of Birmingham, university management have also attempted to ban protest action.

At the University of Sussex, five students were suspended from their studies; they were reinstated following protests by students, MPs and unions.

The UoN “Cops off Campus” campaign was held in the Trent Building courtyard from 2pm. A group of about 40 students and local support groups, including the Nottingham Secular Society and Left Unity Nottingham, joined UoN students in the courtyard.

One of the organisers, Duncan Davis, stated that the demonstration was important because “the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right.” The protestors handed out leaflets about the cause, chanted “Cops off Campus” and several people gave speeches.

Security presence was heavy around the Trent Building, with access to the Vice Chancellor’s office blocked off to students.

UoN students interviewed at the protest said that they felt did not have enough support” from UoN Students’ Union (SU) in order to take more drastic action.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that the student representatives of the SU are “reluctant to make political changes for students due to individual concerns” and suggested that the SU, like the University might be “turning into a business.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) encouraged UK students across the country to show solidarity with the “Cops of Campus” demonstration.

But, one of the speakers at the UoN protest, Declan, expressed his disillusionment with the NUS, stating that they “have not been nearly supportive enough.”

Other speakers expressed their disgust at the use of police brutality to silence protestors: “Why on earth are the people who are supposed to protect us suppressing us with violence?” was one comment that was made.

Sociology undergraduate, Tom Harrington, who partook in today’s protest, commented: “Where once the student protest was accepted and almost embraced by universities, as of late it has been seen as more of a threat to their authority.

By calling in the police to forcibly remove the protestors, university management are treating students’ views as a problem to be dealt with rather than as valid concerns to be listened to.”

Natalie Popow

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3 Comments

  1. Marius Pontmercy
    December 13, 2013 at 19:00 — Reply

    40 protestors at the Trent Building? Rubbish. I walked through at 2.15 and counted fifteen. Looks about half that in your photo. A pretty sorry turnout, even for December,

    • Duncan Davis
      December 20, 2013 at 08:07 — Reply

      The numbers varied throughout. There were about 40 at the peak and the photo Impact took was at the end after most people had left.

  2. December 15, 2013 at 11:36 — Reply


    UoN students interviewed at the protest said that they felt did [sic] not have enough support” from UoN Students’ Union (SU) in order to take more drastic action.

    One student, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that the student representatives of the SU are “reluctant to make political changes for students due to individual concerns” and suggested that the SU, like the University might be “turning into a business.”

    I find this very problematic. This is a misconception of the nature of campaigning at UoNSU. A Students’ Union officer is often better placed to lobby certain people at certain levels than ‘unaffiliated students’, for want of a better phrase, but to assume that the most effective form of action in a nationwide student protest is recourse to the officer team undermines the grassroots campaigning that this form of protest IS and that the Union has championed for the last few years.

    I publicly support many of the groups that oppose the recent violence, and I think it is very unclear what the anonymous student really meant by saying that our team is dodging this issue. The inclusion of that point is really conflating two separate concerns. The campaign is the relevant one here.

    This protest was not about “political change” or the remit of the SU Officer team. This protest was a statement from students around the country that they would not have their most sacred democratic right unduly restricted. We would all benefit from keeping that in mind.

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