‘Cops Off Campus’Protest, Oxford Road, Manchester, 11th December 2013
A noisy student-led rally yesterday brought busy Oxford Road traffic to a halt. The protest was part of a nationwide ‘Cops Off Campus’ action which saw thousands take to the streets in London and across the country.
Taking in campuses of both the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, the vociferous but trouble-free march lasted just over an hour and culminated in a gathering at All Saints Park.The demonstrations came in reaction to the recent use of violence by police in clearing student occupations at Senate house in Bloomsbury. Despite Met police claims that they have received no complaints over the incident, student groups have been angered by video footage which has emerged apparently showing a heavy handed police response to student demonstrations. According to the Manchester organisers, “In the past month, universities across the country have been subject to unprecedented levels of violence from the police, targeting a resurgent wave of activism against the privatisation of the university system”.
“We are intensely proud to be struggling alongside our fellow students. We are proud to see students protecting one another and standing up to the police”.
Beginning at University Place on Oxford Road, the demonstrators unfurled banners and chalked slogans on the pavement. They were joined by representatives from other campaign groups and students from other cities including Liverpool. Speaking at All Saints Park one student said, “It’s fantastic to see so many people here today. It’s so important for us to be showing solidarity with those students facing repression by police [or] university authorities.”
“We will be [discussing] further actions in the new year, so this is just the beginning. We are going to continue to send out a clear message that we will actively protect our right to protest.”
Neil Harrison studies Social History at MMU, he is an aspiring journalist, an awful guitar player and a lazy socialist. Follow him on Twitter @looseriver