Socialist Worker

Outrage after student protesters arrested in Cambridge

by Robin Turner
Issue No. 2240

Two student protestors were arrested by police officers on the grounds of a Cambridge University college on Thursday of last week.

Jacob Wills, a student at Kings College, and local sixth-form pupil Miles Curtis-Watson were arrested on Thursday evening as they were returning from a student protest march held in Cambridge as part of the Day X4 event.

Astonished witnesses filmed the arrest and then posted the footage minutes later on Youtube. The video—seen by Socialist Worker reporters—shows police officers wrestling the students to the ground, while using pepper spray.

The officers then inform the students that they are arrested for obstruction before dragging them away.

The video—displayed on Youtube for several hours before being taken down—shows King’s College vice-provost dr Basim Musallam demanding the officers leave the premises while college porters are seen watching helplessly.

A statement by Cambridge University Students Union said, “We are appalled at what we believe to have been a grossly disproportionate use of force against our members.”

The arrests occurred after Cambridge University students joined secondary and sixth-form pupils and local town residents in a march through the city before stopping at the Grand Arcade shopping centre. There, the protestors dropped and unrolled toilet paper from a balcony in a statement against council decisions to remove disabled access toilets.

The students arrested are known activists having been involved in past actions against government cuts to education and public services, tuition fees increases and tax-dodging corporations. Jacob Wills is a member of the Cambridge Defend Education, a student activist group behind last year’s Senate House occupation at Cambridge University.

Both students were released on bail early Friday morning. They are to appear before magistrates on 7 March.

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Article information

Mon 28 Feb 2011, 11:18 GMT
Issue No. 2240
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