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Nottingham Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted

Evicted | 01.02.2009 22:49 | University Occupations for Gaza | Education | Free Spaces | Palestine | Repression

At around 6pm today the student occupation of B62 at Nottingham University was violently evicted by campus security. Around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students are being forced to wait in the cold whilst they go in one by one to pick up belongings. They are being forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.

At around 6pm the Director of Student Operations, Steven Dudderidge, Professor David Reilly and Head of Security, Gary Stevens, entered the lecture theatre and told students they had 2 minutes to leave the building. People decided to peacefully sit at the far end of the lecture theatre where most of their belongings were. Around 10 campus security then entered from a different door and dragged people out. Many were roughly assaulted and forced into stress positions causing them to scream out. Some were dropped on the concrete paving slabs outside. While this was happening other security staff protecting the windows outside stood and laughed. Not only was the violence illegal it was also unnecessary as no one was trying to actively resist.

People started to gather outside the car park entrance to the building including many supporters who had responded to emergency calls and texts. The police also arrived although they refused to act on the allegations of assault preferring to firmly enforce the university's will. They refused to facilitate those who had been assaulted in identifying the security staff who had assaulted them claiming that they didn't have the resources to deal with it! The security in question tried to lurk out of the way of the cameras outside. There was then a long period during which it is suspected that the occupants belongings were searched for personally identifying documents, etc. The security staff closed all of the curtains to ensure that no one could see what they were up to. When people did eventually get their belongings back, pockets were open and bags had been rifled through.

The university security had decided that people were only to be allowed to go back to pick up their belongings one or two at a time and only after they had produced ID. Their details were being recorded by university security. One person who had been allowed in described how he was generally intimidated by the security and the senior police officer present who had previously been seen having a cordial chat with ex-policeman and Head of University Security, Gary Stevens, through the glass doors. Those who could not produce ID were told that they were not allowed to claim their belongings. What will happen to those people's belongings is unclear although a number of cleaning staff were seen entering the lecture theatre with black bin liners. In spite of the freezing weather and a possible solution being proposed, that the belongings be brought outside and the police witness who was taking what, people were made to wait for the unnecessarily lengthy and vindictive process that security had deemed necessary. The police were deferent to university security at all times, never challenging this process.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) this repression the sizeable crowd who had gathered in support of the occupation were defiant and angry. Good spirits were maintained by supporters bringing food and blankets for those who were left without coats in the heavy snow. If the university thinks it has dealt with this discontent they are dead wrong! Through their ill-thought out actions they have massively escalated the situation and increased people's determination to fight against the system of oppression and control that the university is an integral part of.

The occupation is NOT over!




02.02.2009 14:22

Please send email with your concerns about the shocking treatment of the peaceful protesters to Vice Chancellor:
Director of Student Operations:
Pro Vice Chancellor of the student experience:

Every email will make the university consider its actions.

- Homepage:

Sample letter

02.02.2009 19:10

Here's the complaint I wrote in case anyone wants to complain but can't be bothered to write one. Note that personalised letters are generally more effective, so only use this if you really don't want to write one.

Dear sirs,

I had, with interest, been following the recent occupation of a University
of Nottingham lecture theatre, in protest at Israel's recent war on the Gaza
Strip. It was distressingly to learn that on Sunday evening your campus
security evicted the protesters from the room, allegedly in a brutal manner.
Student Unions, including Nottingham's, have a history of forming grassroots
movements against human rights abuses, most recently over apartheid in South
Africa. With hindsight, these movements are regarded by all as having
brought enormous benefit to humanity. So, in light of the current situation
in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, should the university
not be encouraging the development of a pro-Palestinian student movement
rather than brutally suppressing it?

I hope you will reconsider your role as leaders of one of Britain's most
respected academic institutions, and that your future actions will reflect
your institution's democratic and progressive values.

Yours faithfully,



Hide the following 5 comments


01.02.2009 22:55



challenge and reoccupy

02.02.2009 09:46

This is what you get when Universities are no more than money making enterprises and those who run them simply part of the state and capitalist system.

Hopefully this will not go unchallenged.

Big respect to all of those involved in the occupation, it’s just a pity that the majority of the student body didn’t get involved with you. Shame on them!



Bloody students (if University had its way)

02.02.2009 11:13

As a student in the 70s we used to occupy strategic parts of the university (telephone exchanges, admin buildings) because these would cause maximum disruption to the authorities with minimum disruption to the core activities of the university, education (in its broad and real sense) and real research (increasing our understanding of the universe).

So when I saw that Notts students, like groups at other universities, had simply occupied a lecture theatre, and had even kept it available for lectures, I gave 2 cheers for student activism. It was an important statement, but not anything that would really upset the University. (Mind you if the genocidal murder of over 1300 civilians isn’t enough to outrage everyone on campus to the point of shutting down the entire university I’m not sure what is.)

So as I read of Nottingham Universities’ handling of the occupation and its physical manhandling of its students, who were clearly peaceful people showing real care and compassion for their fellow man, I was shocked and appalled.

However, as someone who has attended two universities and worked within them for 25 years I have seen their gradual slide from principled institutions guided by an ethos of providing opportunities for individuals to grow into profit-driven commercial organisations answerable only to their new masters – big business.

The University today measures its success by the number of people it turns out who have the skills needed by Experian, and the ability of its technical and ‘research’ facilities to help clients develop more effective weapons. So it is perhaps no wonder that the University responded to the occupation as it did. With its current commercial ethos it would do no other. You were an embarrassment to it in the eyes of its ‘masters’ and as always when ignorant people loose an argument they resort to violence.

So, I will revise my opinion and say three cheers for student activism!

PS It was interesting to see another example of the police demonstrating who they work for.



02.02.2009 14:14

Welcome to the violence inherent in the capitalist system. Attack the relations and private property and the goons will soon come running in!

Best solution: RE-OCCUPY with many more and spread the occupations everywhere!

Barricades too!


Keep up the good work

06.02.2009 16:33

Well done to those who took part in this, and to those who took the trouble to write it up here.

It's easy to get pissed off about lack of mass support for actions like this, but so much harder to take the small surge and build on it. Looks like you're going to do that.

I don't live in Notts any more, but enjoy following stories like this to keep in touch with what's happening. Even if a handful of non-active students have had their eyes opened a bit, things like this are worth doing.