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UK Newswire Archive

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New Student Occupation - Bedford Square

26-02-2011 03:35

A group of student Anti Cuts activists have occupied Royal Holloway's premises on Bedford Square in central London.

They have reclaimed the space to use as a centrally located hub for all student anti cuts groups to organize and hold events! If you’re in the vicinity pop in and show your support!!

11 bedford square, corner of montague place and gower street.

In related news ucl pi reports on the UCL line regarding the other occupation that started yesterday at the end of the dayx4 protests - see below. The UCL refectory occupation held a general meeting last night to discuss demands. The next general meeting is 11am Saturday - stay up to date here: + 


"The College is already underway in putting a stop to the occupation that began in the Old Refectory last night.

The court order obtained by the College in December 2010 to evict occupiers of the Jeremy Bentham Room did not cover the whole building. A UCL spokesperson told Pi: ‘UCL will need another court order to secure this eviction, and we are currently discussing with our lawyers how best to go about this…we intend to secure the court order as soon as enable normal working to resume.’"



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Royal Holloway Occupied (Uni of London)

26-02-2011 03:35

Royal Holloway have OCCUPIED the Arts Building (University of London)

Education is in a period of crisis. The cuts to the teaching budget, the prioritisation of STEM subjects, and the increase in tuition fees have devalued our degrees, changed students into consumers of university prestige and post-degree job potential rather than pursuers of education for its own sake, and reduced the valuable resources and contact hours that are essential to diverse and encompassing courses.

We have already conveyed these concerns to the university management, and invited them to take part in a public meeting before the end of the last term, which they failed to organise, or enquire about.

As members of the University Management team are attending the Universities UK conference on Thursday 24th February, we press those representing RHUL to deliver a clear message to other vice-chancellors and management. This is a vital opportunity to make the case against an increase in tuition fees and spending cuts.

As Principal Paul Layzell himself said “we can only speak with our actions”. Therefore we have decided to hold a sit-in. We wish to emphasise the importance of these demands, and reclaim the university space. We shall encourage an open-door policy, will not hinder any students or workers from their day-to-day activities, and shall put on a variety of academic and cultural events as chosen by those participating in the sit-in as a practical demonstration of what the university could achieve without the limitations of spending cuts, raised tuition fees, and a ‘marketised’ structure of learning.

We enclose our demands.

1. The management should open the university accounts and books, and make them publicly available for anyone to see. In the letter ‘A statement by Royal Holloway, University of London on the proposed changes to Higher Education Funding’ dated 24th November 2010, the management stated that “Whilst the college makes a modest annual surplus, this is used to invest in infrastructure such as the current projects to extend teaching space in the School of Management and to replace the Drama Studio” – we want access to the accounts and to be informed on the decision making process that led to these investments, and a projection of any future use of any annual surplus.

2. There should be collective decision making over key decisions, involving all members of the university – lecturers, administrative and support staff, workers, and students.

3. These decisions should be taken in open meetings, which consult the collective university body and operate democratically.

4. The management should release a public statement on the future of Royal Holloway in which they declare the future of funding, and discuss all reports and potential actions.

5. In the aforementioned letter, the management stated it was investigating the “better use of facilities by conferences and events outside term time, fund raising from former students and other donors, offering some of our programmes overseas, distance learning options and a modest growth in international students” – we want to know the developments made in these investigations, and how they would impact on funding at Royal Holloway.

6. We want to know what assessments the college have made regarding the impact of cuts and raised tuition fees on women, ethnic minorities, disabled students, international students and widening participation schemes, given that the management have already stated that “funding cuts threaten widening participation programmes and investment in the student experience”, in the abovementioned letter.

7. The management also claimed in this letter that “We believe in the public value of higher education” and that the “College and its trade body, Universities UK has and continues to lobby Government over the proposed changes to Higher Education funding. We welcome the College’s approach and wish to know the details of the college’s actions in lobbying the Government, and how they have linked with other universities, unions and pressure groups in campaigning against the cuts and the raise in tuition fees.

8. The management should be heavily lobbying and pressuring government not to hand down spending cuts: stressing that they will not make these cuts, redundancies and fee increases & prioritise spending on jobs and education.

9. Given that Principal Paul Layzell stated “we’ve been very clear here, you have a right to protest and no one’s going to stop you doing it”, and the conduct during the sit-in led Steven Bland, Head of Facilities Management, to convey to the Student’s Union that, paraphrasing, ‘he was happy with the way things had gone. He commented that the students were peaceful and polite and together with security have come to the decision that students can come and go as they please’, we push for no action to be taken against participators in the sit-in, whether lecturers, administrative and support staff, workers, or students. We also call on the management to speak out against those universities seeking to take legal action on other participants in sit-ins across the country, for example, at Birmingham University. We pledge to maintain the same level of courtesy, welfare preparation, and lack of disruption as during the last sit-in.

The Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance

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Notts County Council Strike: 1 The March

26-02-2011 01:23

Thursday February 24th 

Nottinghamshire County Council met to set its budget. Unison members at the council were on strike, to coincide with this the union organised a march meeting on the Victoria Embankment ar 11.00am and marching across Trent Bridge and a rally in front of County Hall in West Bridgford.

Nottinghamshire County Council met to set its budget. Unison members at the council were on strike, to coincide with this the union organised a march meeting on the Victoria Embankment ar 11.00am and marching across Trent Bridge and a rally in front of County Hall in West Bridgford.

Unison had originally wanted to march from Bridge Field in West Bridgford, but Tory-run Rushcliffe Borough Council refused permission for the union to use the land, claiming that do otherwise might be seen as "supporting a political initiative". Unison condemned the decision, hence relocating the start point to Victoria Embankment.


Unison says:

Nottinghamshire County Council councillors met on 24 Feb to set a budget.  Vital public services are at risk, and 1,000 staff face being compulsory sacked in the next few months.

Notts County Council does not need to make these cutsLike other councils, they should be lobbying central government for adequate funding to protect local jobs, services and the Notts economy. 

The council says it will spend £60million on making 3,500 staff redundant over 3 years.  Putting people on the dole will mean services are permanently cut, will take millions out of  reduced or deleted — and our local economy.

It will also mean more is spent on benefits — keeping people in jobs costs less than keeping them on the dole.  And jobs keep services running.

UNISON has identified £27 million the council could use to protect services and jobs.  

Back UNISON in our call for:

* NO compulsory redundancies 

* YES to lobbying the Government for funding 

* PLANNED service changes, not savage cuts, as a better way to protect services, jobs, & communities.


Notts Unison


Liam Conway of Notts NUT addresses rally






Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham.  UK



Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]


"It is not enough to curse the darkness.

                                   It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"



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Facebook helped Mubarak un-mask activists

25-02-2011 21:23

Facebook's platform played the bigger role in Hosni Mubarak's downfall. It was the "We Are All Khaled Said" page Ghonim set up in June to memorialize a businessman who died in police custody that became the cradle of the revolution. But Facebook the company, unlike Google, has hardly embraced the honor. Last fall, it removed the crucial page rather than allowing the administrator to protect his identity. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois sent Facebook a letter requesting that it amend its no-anonymity policy to protect democratic activists in the Middle East. Facebook said no. When the Tunisian government used a virus to obtain passwords of activists, Facebook couched its response in terms of protecting user privacy, not challenging a vile regime.

Facebook is such a powerful organizing tool that the question of its attitude toward those who use its product is in some ways irrelevant. But it is worth pointing that the company has never shown any sign of having the kind of core commitment to liberty that Google does. Where Google voluntarily pulled out of China, Facebook—which is blocked there—is desperate to get in. This, too, reflects the background and worldview of its founder. Mark Zuckerberg, a child of privilege, has never known a lack of political freedom. He has no obvious ideological leanings and his big outside investors include a radical libertarian and a junior oligarch. It is difficult to imagine Facebook—or most other technology companies, for that matter—passing up a major business opportunity because of concerns about human rights. Facebook's overriding objective is the much more typical one of expanding its market while avoiding bad PR and staying out of trouble with governments that set the rules.

Full article

London Students Occupy!

25-02-2011 20:22

A group of student anti cuts activists from various London colleges have taken over the a Bedford square building (part of Royal Holloway University of London), as well as the adjoining premises in central London.

They want the space to become a hub for the student movement, as a free area to organize, collaborate and hold events!!!


Full article | 3 comments

Libya: Is US pushing for civil war to justify a US-NATO military intervention?

25-02-2011 19:58

Tony Blair met Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte, 29 May 2007
One should be opposed to dictatorship, but one should not forget the issue of foreign domination.

Is “manufactured destruction” or “creative destruction” at work?

Is Tripoli being set up for a civil war to justify U.S. and NATO military intervention in oil-rich Libya?

If Qaddafi is not ousted, are the talks about sanctions a prelude to an Iraq-like intervention?

Full article | 3 comments

7 March - Freedom of Speech is on trial Westminster Magistrates

25-02-2011 19:39

Kroll, Guy Carpenter ltd, City Police Counter Terrorism Directorate used to silence plumber Ian Puddick for exposing corruption at board level at the worlds largest reinsurance company.

Full article | 3 comments

Calls for military intervention in Libya

25-02-2011 19:32

"The Imperialist powers, they’re economies wrecked by the hubris endemic to their systems, would like nothing better than to seize, Libya’s petroleum assets during this time of eternal turmoil. And why wouldn’t they desire to invade now? They get to derail revolution and they get the oil! This would be London and Washington’s wet dream. And it would be a disaster for the people everywhere! In fact we may ultimately find that their dirty, greedy hands were behind the disaster in Libya in order to create pretexts for actions “imperial in nature” all over Africa. At any rate, no progressive person can believe that “western intervention” will be other than another grotesque rape of the people of the African continent. Please do all you can to resist this horrible possibility? The western powers simply cannot be trusted. Defend the Libyan nations’ right, and indeed all the revolutionary peoples’ of Africa’s’ right to self-determination. No less, and in fact, much more is at stake."

Full article | 1 comment

Video report of anti - Orange Order demonstration

25-02-2011 19:20

Thousands of peaceful protesters took part in an anti-Orange Order demonstration recently in Belfast trying to block the Orange Order from marching through a Republican area. See the video report below:

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Libyan Demo outside Welsh Assembly

25-02-2011 18:20

Third demo to support libyan freedom

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This Week in Palestine week 8 2011

25-02-2011 18:07

Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for February 13 to 25th 2011.

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Stopping Shells Survey Work

25-02-2011 18:04

Stopping surveying
Today, 12 people from the Rossport Solidarity Camp walked onto the land where Shell intend to build their compound to disrupt survey work. No one was arrested.

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Bath Bomb #37 Out Now

25-02-2011 17:22

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yesterday's student demo turns to walkabout

25-02-2011 17:22

university vice-chancellors held a meeting yesterday at woburn house in london. students planned a protest outside the meeting against cuts to the EMA grants, rises in tuition fees, and the coalition's idealogical attack on education.

a planned university occupation failed after an apparent factional dispute, but the protest then transformed into a more general anti-cuts demonstration with visits to known corporate tax dodgers, some disruption around central london, and finally a solidarity visit to a libyan protest outside the american embassy.

the new politically-aware generation connected the dots beautifully with a series of spontaneous decisions and the impromptu marches passed off peacefully with little police interference, and in fact, text-book 'facilitation'.

clicking on pics brings up bigger version. all pics "some rights reserved" - free for non-commercial grassroots use (credited 'rikki indymedia'). no commercial usage without permission.

at about 2pm yesterday afternoon, a small crowd of around 100 students with a few lecturers and other activists gathered near woburn house in tavistock square to protest the tuition fee rises and EMA cuts, while university vice-chancellors held a meeting there.

at about 2.15, numbers were swelled by about a hundred more students from the LSE who arrived with a bicycle sound system and took over the road. there were about a dozen police at the protest, and they gave up some half-hearted efforts to move people, and instead helped find motorists an alternative route.

the students then held a short impromptu march round the square, with some mild scuffles with police on the main road as a few students ran forward to try and enter the building. police then started to put up some metal barriers to close off the road in front of the building, but students interpreted this as the precursor to the kettle, and soon ran over and stopped it, as well as sitting on piles of barriers to prevent any further movement.

again, the dozen police stood down, and although there is little doubt there must have been reserves nearby, none appeared.

with no sign of vice-chancellors or any other movement in the building, the students decided to go on a walkabout, first heading up upper woburn place, where they held up traffic for a few minutes, and then on to the busy euston road junction in front of the station, where they sat down for about ten minutes, bringing the traffic to a standstill at around 3pm.

earlier, notes were passed round telling people to follow the 'red umbrellas', and as the crowd walked west along euston road, the umbrellas were raised. a plan was afoot, and a university occupation seemed to be the aim. the umbrellas took us down goodge street and then turned left towards the university of london union building - clearly this was the target.

however, at the doors there was a strange stand-off, with none other than clare solomon, the socialist president of the ULU, standing shoulder to shoulder with the university security guards, clearly ready for the incursion and determined to fight it off. there were angry exchanges between activists from both sides of the occupation divide, but many of the crowd seemed unaware of the division, and inertia took them further down the road.

if you have time, there is a possibly pertinent and interesting opinion piece here ( which sheds an anarchist perspective on some of the socialist would-be leaders of the students' struggles, however, despite her socialist leanings, there is some favourable support for her tenure among many activists, and her speeches to date have often spoken of direct action, so it's difficult to know what exactly the division was about at ULU yesterday.

down the road, there was a small fracas with police attempting an arrest. students showed powerful solidarity and performed a classic de-arrest, during which the target made a swift escape, and one policeman lost his helmet, while several others lost their tempers. however, the skirmish was soon over, and surprisingly, still no re-inforcements arrived, leaving the same dozen officers to follow the crowd as they once again set off on a walkabout at around 3.15.

reaching tottenham court road, there was another short roadblock, before someone spotted a barclays branch, and called out to occupy it. police raced against  protestors along the road, but at least a dozen activists managed to enter the branch before police gained control of the door. the branch was then closed for several minutes, eggs were thrown at the glass front, and a banner unfurled on a balcony, but those inside decided to leave together after a short while.

again, there was no visible sign of police re-inforcements other than the appearance of a squad car and a van at the bottom of tottenham court road redirecting traffic to close the road off.

chanting exuberantly, and with the bicycle sound system pumping out beats, the protest then took to oxford street. the first stop there was a vodafone shop, which immediately closed its doors while police formed a line in front.

advance warnings were clearly in operation, as the boots chemist branch further along already had its shutters down, trapping bemused customers inside. topshop at oxford circus had lines of security and police letting customers out but no would-be customers in.

the customary blockade of oxford circus lasted about ten to fifteen minutes at around 4pm, and again, there was no interference from the police. in fact, it was by now quite a good-natured interaction, and i also saw two officers warning off a couple of gentlemen who appeared to be attempting to pick bags amongst the students. other police chatted with motorists, calming them and no doubt telling them the protest would be moving along soon. one group sat right in the middle of the junction while others stood around, and some danced joyously to the sound system in the surprisingly warm sunshine.

after more discussion, and some googling to find out its location, the call went up to head for the libyan embassy. this is near the american embassy in grosvenor square, but as the students approached, it became clear that there were a group of a couple of hundred libyans already protesting outside the american embassy, so the students joined them.

LSE students made an announcement about the way the LSE has become a university for hire, and about their recent dicovery that the libyan dictator gaddafi had made a 'donation' to the university of one and a half million pounds. they described how within hours of this discovery they had organised an overnight occupation, and then negotiated with university financiers that in return for ending the occupation, a promise be made whereby all the money would be ring-fenced and used to provide bursaries and grants to future libyan students.

this announcement was met with much cheering and applause, and followed by more open mic speeches from the libyan protestors in front of the american embassy.

i left them there at around 5.30, but i believe a smaller number then marched on to UCL and began an occupation there. (more on this, and some other pics from the day at

back at woburn house, police were still on guard at the doors.

after the extreme policing of student protests at the end of last year, it is difficult to second guess the police approach from event to event, but today's passed off well, with a hands-off approach avoiding violence, allowing freedom of movement and speech, and in return finding a positive, exuberant, spontaneous and powerful protest not forced into defence or retaliation.

Full article

Struggle For The Right To Rock

25-02-2011 16:27

As we navigate our way through the baffling conundrums of cultural appropriation and related matters, here's some ancient writing on the subject.

"Freed's black slang and flamboyant delivery was soon cleaned up, with white jocks perfecting the pronunciation and selling Coke and Clearasil to white teens. But the honest, down-to-earth sounds of R&B did not produce a good format for advertisements aimed toward the new, large generation of white suburban baby-boomer teenyboppers, especially when racist, white, middle class parents did not approve of their children listening to black R&B. So they called it rock & roll and white men like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Louis got to become rich and famous. Many songs written and performed by blacks were covered by faceless whites that put them on the charts..."

Now read on...


Full article | 1 comment

Solidarity demo with migrant women imprisoned at Yarl's Wood - 5th March

25-02-2011 16:18

Yarl's Wood immigration prison
Come and celebrate International Women's Day by showing solidarity with the migrant women imprisoned at Yarl's Wood!

Saturday, 5th March 2011, 1:00pm
@ Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre
Twinwoods Road, Clapham, Bedfordshire, MK41 6HL

Please organise your own transport.

Full article

Eighth General Strike Shuts Down Half Greek Economy

25-02-2011 16:14

Demonstrators resisted the usual police violence
On Wednesday, Greek workers took part in their eighth one day general strike since 'centre-left' Prime Minister Prime Minister George Papandreou started imposing drastic cuts and attacks on working class conditions. The strike was called by the GSEE private sector union confederation, and ADEDY, its equivalent organisation in the public sector. It was the first such strike of 2011, and in line with the union bosses' token policy of calling workers out once every few months, while their colleagues in government get on with their work of destroying people's lives.

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Bath Bomb #37 Out Now

25-02-2011 16:08

In This Issue: Worldwide Revolution – For Real! Clegg On His Face! Raining Fatcats & Bankers! B.T.P. & W4B Not D.O.A. - W.T.F.? Can't Sell The Forests For The Trees! Rampaging Amphibians! Rampant Commercial Co-option! L.E.T.S.-ing You Down And L.E.T.S.-ing Ourselves Down! Bad-Mouthing B.&N.E.S. - For A Change! Padding Out Lack Of Content With Core-ny Jokes & Inflated Font Size!

Full article | 1 comment

Protest against anti-Gypsy/Traveller racism

25-02-2011 15:44

Over the weekend, campaigners from the Gypsy and Travelling communities will hold a two-day demonstration in central London in protest at the racism directed at their communities.

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300 immigrants on hunger strike in Greece: 32nd day

25-02-2011 12:15

On the 23rd of January 300 immigrants arrived to Piraeus from Crete, Greece, to commence a hunger strike in order to make their voices heard on their demand for basic human rights.
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