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Last Wednesday over 3000 students and university staff gathered outside the University of London Union (ULU) to protest against the previous week’s heavy handed police response to the student occupation of Senate House and the well-attended #copsoffcampus demonstration that followed, which between them saw the arrest of 42 people. The protesters marched past Senate House and through the cluster of University of London (UoL) campuses in Bloomsbury. A sizeable contingent later made their way to the Royal Courts of Justice, where an inquest into the alleged murder of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police was underway.
The original occupation of Senate House was launched off the back of the recent victory of the 3Cosas campaign for outsourced cleaners at UoL, in which concessions over holiday and sick pay conditions were won. The Senate House occupiers, however, had a list of ten demands that went well beyond attaining the ‘third cosas’ (pensions) and included, amongst others, that UoL reverses the decision to close ULU, that the pay ratio between the lowest paid and the highest paid staff at UoL should be reduced to a maximum of 10:1, and that the University make a public statement opposing the privatisation of student loans.
Wednesday’s demonstration, although sparked by the presence and actions of police on campus, was the culmination of a year long industrial dispute, growing student dissatisfaction with the privatisation of education and the decision to close ULU. The recent surge of occupations at universities throughout the UK and the size and vibrancy of the #copsoffcampus protest has caused some to remark on the growth of a new student movement.
Below is a selection of the best video reports from the demonstration: