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Police assualt student to prevent LSE protest

Michael Deas | 05.11.2008 15:50 | SOCPA | Education | Repression | World

Police have used unlawful violence to prevent a student demonstration at the London School of Economics. Students gathered outside the opening of the New Academic Building by the Queen to protest against the naming of a lecture theatre after Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the dead dictator of the UAE. When the group dropped a banner reading "No more Dirty Money at LSE" a policeman approached the group and, without warning, kneed a student in the crotch and punched him on the side of the head twice.

LSE student assualted
LSE student assualted

The group also hoped to draw attention to the corporate and unethical direction of the LSE.

A photographer from The Beaver, the newspaper of the LSE Students' Union, took photographs of the violence. The policeman who had used violence then approached the photographer and used aggressive and forceful language to unlawfully coerce the photographer to delete the photographs.

When the group arrived, police informed them that a demonstration would not be permitted due the Queen's presence at the opening. The group sought legal advice from a professional lawyer and were told that a demonstration would be legal and any action to prevent it would be illegal.

Protesters were prevented from distributing leaflets on the patio of the New Academic Building by LSE security.

A spokesperson for the group said, "We gathered to lawfully protest against the corporate and unethical direction of the LSE. We made our lawful and non-violent intentions clear to both the Police and the LSE at the beginning of the demonstration. The freedom of association and free speech are essential parts of any liberal democracy. We condemn in the strongest terms both the actions of the Metropolitan Police and LSE security staff. We shall not allow this incident to deter us from drawing attention to and opposing the unethical direction which LSE is taking."

Other banners that the protestors had intended to display read "LSE not £$€" and "Human rights for UAE." Students wore t-shirts that read "LSE not £$€". One student, who had been invited to greet the Queen, wore an "LSE not £$€" tshirt to meet the Queen and LSE Director Sir Howard Davies.

The group intend to make representation to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and other authorities.

Executive Editor of The Beaver Joseph Cotterill said, "For the police to treat protesters in this way is reprehensible in any case, but to deny a member of the media the right to report what happened is completely unacceptable. We want answers."

Aled Dilwyn Fisher, General Secretary of the LSE Students' Union, said, "Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of academica. Freedom to protest is an integral part of that. Students should be free to make their voices heard on matters relating to the university they pay fees to attend. The police used powers given to them under increasingly authoritarian legislation, as well as straightforward brutality, which all believers in freedom of expression should strongly condemn. The police have many questions to answer about they way they treated innocent non-violent protestors."

The leaflets that the protestors distributed read,

"A theatre inside the New Academic Building is named after Sheikh Zayed, the former dictator of the United Arab Emirates. We oppose commemorating a dictator who:
According to Amnesty International, sanctioned torture of his citizens and refused to sign international agreements on human rights
Outlawed Trade Unions and implemented employment law which forbid workers from leaving their job or the country without their employer's permission.
Outlawed homosexuality and imprisoned LGBT people

But there is more. The LSE also:
Invests money in arms companies BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls Royce
Invests in BHP Biliton, a firm which produces produces
uranium for nuclear weapons
Accepted donations of over £1m from BP, a company which cut safety budget, leading to the death of 15 people.
Appointed BP Chairman Peter Shutherland as Chair of LSE Council despite large scale student opposition.

We are a broad coalition of students concerned with the corporate and unethical direction of the LSE.

We resent the fact that the LSE has decided to commemorate former UAE dictator Sheikh Zayed in exchange for £2.5m. By naming a lecture theatre after him the LSE is endorsing his dismal human, workers' and LGBT rights record.

We resent too that this is representative of a wider culture at LSE. The LSE currently invests in arms companies and firms which enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons. The LSE has accepted donations of over £1m from BP and named BP Chairman Peter Sutherland as Chair of LSE Council. Sutherland was present at BP board meetings that authorised the cutting of safety budgets, which cost the lives of 15 people and caused monumental environmental damage.

Our facilities and our knowledge are increasingly harnessed to the demands of an administration subordinated to the profit motive above all else. LSE's students, academics and staff deserve better. In anticipation of further steps in this direction by the School, we have decided to make a stand. Please join us in the fight for a better LSE."


Notes to Editors

1. The group would appreciate it if they were informed if this story is to be printed.
2. The attached photos were taken by a different photographer than the one who had his photos deleted. These photos were taken by Lorenzo Levrini. High resolution versions are available at Please credit Lorenzo Levrin and The Beaver for the photos.
3. The Beaver is currently trying to use data recovery software to recover the superior photos taken from a better angle that clearly show unnecessary force being used. Any expertise or advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
4. For more information contact 07533058329 or 07825779606 or or
5. To contact Joseph Cotterill telephone 02079556705

Michael Deas
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Display the following 3 comments

  1. Keep it up!! — Kickemoffcampus
  2. Police Violence — George Coombs
  3. Palestinian Society protests against anti-semite — Mike