Action against privatisation escalates at Sussex University

On Monday March 25th over 1,000 students and their supporters braved the freezing weather to march in support of the campaign against cuts and privatisation. The day of action saw the occupation spread to new venues and the college admin office get Millbanked.

The protest started with a number of speeches by students and college workers against the ongoing attempts by managers to cut costs and privatise college services. There followed a peaceful march around the campus which passed the different sites of protests and saw occupiers letting off flares and smoke grenades. When the protest reached the office of the Vice Chancellor demonstrators rattled the windows and remonstrated with a provocative presence of private security guards inside.

After making their point the protestors seemed to be winding down and preparing to move off elsewhere when a unit of Police carrying riot helmets barged into the side of the demonstration for no apparent reason. This raised the temperature considerably and in the ensuing chaos the front doors of the offices fell inwards as people tried to escape the scrum. Meanwhile the police were pushed back by the students into a corner until they agreed to back down. They were later seen being let into a side entrance of the newly occupied building by college security.

After the march students held an assembly in one of the spaces that had been taken on the day. Messages of support for their principled stand continue to roll in from across the UK and further afield. 20 MPs have signed an early day motion in support of their action.

Photos by Guy Smallman

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