Rally staged to protest eviction notice given to Greenwich House occupation

Will Bennett 24 May 2018

Senate House was the setting of an emergency rally held by Zero Carbon, Cambridge Defend Education and Cambridge UCU this evening, after the university announced an eviction notice to the sit-in at Greenwich House, threatening police action to the protesters.

Around a hundred people turned up to listen to various speakers pressing the importance of divestment and the extreme ‘death and destruction’ caused by climate change. The threat of police action provoked speakers approaching broader topics, such as the inclusivity of the university and marginalization of the vulnerable not just within the university, but in the wider world.

Zero Carbon leaders accused the university of militarizing the campus against its own students, of protecting their own property rather than democracy. Speakers also referenced the UCU strikes of Lent term and issues of accountability in university institutions, accusing the administration of failing to protect students and fellows.

Protesters chanted slogans that attracted the attentions of passers-by; ‘whose university? Our university’, ‘cops off campus’. They also held up cardboard signs reflecting these statements and demands. A representative student from UCL was also present.

A Zero Carbon member who wished to remain anonymous gave TCS a statement following the protest’s dispersal and move to Greenwich House. He said: “The university has lost all legitimacy to threaten students with police violence for peaceful protest, with a want of the values of accountability and democracy. The only direction left is to take action and stand up. The University is showing its truce colours; anyone who threatens it is faced with state violence. Us students are not afraid…this University is not theirs to control. It has a huge debt to those people affected by climate change, with millions displaced and dead".