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Students have locked themselves into a major UK university - and they've a long list of demands...

“Our plan is to make our demands as loudly as possible,” an Irish student involved in the action said.

Image: OCCUPY LSE

A GROUP OF some 50 students at the London School of Economics have occupied a room at the university – and they’ve handed management a long list of demands they want addressed before the protest is called off.

Their key demand is that the university – one of the most prestigious in the UK – should offer “free and universally accessible education not geared to making profit”.

Dozens of students with ‘Occupy LSE’ used bicycle locks to barricade themselves into the Vera Anstey Suite, near management offices, on Tuesday evening.

The final decision to go ahead with the demo was made following two meetings, on Monday night and on Tuesday morning – Sinead Mercier, a Co Galway law student at LSE, told TheJournal.ie. 

“We demand that the management of LSE lobby the government to scrap tuition fees for both domestic and international students,” a list of demands published online said. 

The list also contains a demand for improved workers rights for LSE workers, one for the creation of a new student-staff council, and a demand for changes to the college’s harassment policy.

The following is also included:

We demand that the school cuts its ties to exploitative and destructive organisations, such as those involved in wars, military occupations and the destruction of the planet. This includes but is not limited to immediate divestment from the fossil fuel industry and from all companies which make a profit from the Israeli state’s occupation of Palestine.

Students have been staying in the administration room for the past two nights. Mercier said many intended to stay tonight as well, and that the protest was likely to continue indefinitely – depending on whether or not the group’s various demands are met.

Four representatives are meeting management this evening, in what’s the first such formal interaction. Another meeting is planned tomorrow.

“Our plan is to make our demands as loudly as possible,” Mercier said, adding that more and more students had joined the protest over the last 48 hours or so.

She said there was a largely positive reception within the college, and that security staff had been tolerant of their presence.

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“On Tuesday evening a group of approximately 20 students occupied the Vera Anstey Room in the Old Building at ‪#‎LSE‬, highlighting a broad range of demands relating to higher education,” a statement from the university said, on Facebook.

“LSE was founded for the betterment of society and it is clear that this principle continues to be a guide for many of our students.

“Exchanges between the group and LSE security have been positive.”

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Daragh Brophy

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