The students who had occupied former Poet-Laureate Sir Andrew Motion’s offices at 11 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury for an entire week, have now claimed bailiffs seized their belongings after raiding the building. The supposed seizure took place on the Thursday after the Royal Courts of Justice granted university chiefs a possession order granting them the jurisdiction to evict the students.
The week long sit-in, which was in protest of the Government cuts, had caused serious disturbances to work being carried out by Senior Royal Holloway University professors, who explained to the New Journal the protest was “seriously disrupting” their work. Police Community Support Officers aided the bailiffs to ensure a smooth transition.
David Moon, 21, an Undergraduate for History at Royal Holloway, said: “We had not received a possession order, but at around 3.45pm they began kicking in the door. It is a Grade I-listed Georgian building so we were shocked at the physical force.”
An unnamed Physics student also described the eviction: “They frogmarched all of us out and pushed us around. They then physically took some books from my hand and said I couldn’t have them back as they did not believe they were my books.”
In response to the eviction an estimated 80 students later protested outside the building, many hiding their faces with clothing. Royal Holloway is yet to respond to this on their website, however, a spokes-person did attempt to distance the University by condemning the students and stating: “The occupiers are not associated with Royal Holloway or its Students’ Union, and only a minority of the occupiers are Royal Holloway students. The occupiers are not protesting about higher education specifically, and they are not directing their protest at Royal Holloway itself. They are, however, seriously disrupting the work of Royal Holloway, and causing considerable cost and inconvenience to us and our students. Although the occupiers have not prevented any students or lecturers from accessing 11 Bedford Square, they have rendered the building unusable by chaining closed fire doors, occupying the building’s rooftop, using the teaching space and preventing access to our security staff and management.”
A further protest took place in London as students at University College London occupied a part of their campus in protest of President Malcolm Grant’s trip to the Middle East with David Cameron and several arms companies.
A revival of the sit in appears to be coming and with ever more legislation being contemplated by the Government it seems there will be many more to come.