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!
Director of Student Operations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pro Vice Chancellor of the student experience: email@example.com
Every email will make the university consider its actions.
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.