March and Occupation: The Story

At 1pm over 300 students gathered in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, to begin a day of protest in resistance to cuts and fees; meanwhile, 50 workers and benefit claimants were holding a demonstration outside Edinburgh’s A4E offices. The two marches were organised in solidarity with each other, and soon the students were marching down Lothian Road, the workers and claimants joining them, all chanting “No Ifs! No Buts! No Education Cuts!” and “Nick Clegg, shame on you! Shame on you for turning blue!”

The diverse protest marched on to the LibDem HQ by Haymarket, where the students held a sit-down study-in in the middle of the street, encouraged by passing traffic! We heard speeches from lecturers, local activists, politicians, workers, claimants and students, and then posted a copy of Nick Clegg’s pledge to oppose education cuts through the letter box — just to remind them.

The march carried on through the streets of Edinburgh, gaining support from residents and school students. At busy junctions we sat down in the road — the traffic wasn’t happy, but it made our presence known and got our message across.  Heavily chaperoned by the police all the way, we paid a visit to the University’s Registry Offices, which we briefly occupied. Here we faced a stand-off with the police, who refused to allow more legitimate and peaceful protesters into the building. Eventually, deciding we had made our point, we regrouped at George Square — and then took everyone by surprise.

Still hundreds strong, we marched to a nearby lecture theatre (Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 2) and promptly, peacefully and effectively occupied it.  We began a public meeting to discuss the future of this protest, and soon resolved to stay for the long term, until some crucial demands were met. We’re now finalising these demands for presentation to the University, getting our bedding ready for tonight, and trying to secure freedom of movement, so that more people from all walks of life can join and extend our protest.

Come on down! Solidarity!

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8 Responses to March and Occupation: The Story

  1. real_students says:

    QUOTE: “[…]we marched to a nearby lecture theatre (Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 2) and promptly, peacefully and effectively occupied it.[…]”

    Unfortunately your nearby lecture theatre is inside Appleton Tower, which also hosts several labs, which students use to work (sadly late at night, as there are deadlines clustering around Thursdays).

    Your actions are inconveniencing us, as security not just tries to prevent access for you guys, but anybody wanting to re-enter the building.

    Next time, please be more considerate of your fellow students. Thank you!

  2. We’re sorry you felt inconvenienced, but this is a very important battle we’re fighting. We also can’t take the blame for excessive policing, especially considering our protest has been peaceful and civilly disobedient throughout.

    However, we’re pleased to say that the very first demand we secured, before anything else, was freedom of movement for students seeking to work. Anyone who needs to work in the building should now be able to.

  3. The government has lost its legitimacy by breaking election promises

    Civil disobedience is the appropriate response

  4. itellsya says:

    @political dynamite here here! Solidarity seems lost on some people. The PEOPLE are behind you!

  5. naomi says:

    didn’t hear about the occupation, and am VERY sad I can’t be there. Keep it up!

  6. Rob March says:

    Why would you occupy a building that only other students would use? Your message won’t spread outside the student community and worse, it’ll only piss people off who want to study to pass their degrees that they’re spending a ridiculous amount of money on already. This will only harm your cause.

    • Thanks for attaching your name to your criticism.

      We understand other students concerns; as a result, we’re putting a lot of energy into minimising the disruption. We’re trying to avoid lectures being cancelled, and ensuring freedom of movement. We’re also working on outreach to other social classes and groups: our rally tomorrow has speakers from all walks of life, and we’re trying to reach worker and claimant groups as well.

  7. Pingback: Student (fees) Protest Part DURR 24/11/10 | itellsya

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