14 arrests at University demo


Police were called to the Edgbaston site

A total of 14 people were arrested last night when a protest at Birmingham University ended with people breaking into buildings and damaging property.

Police were called to the Edgbaston site at around 5pm following reports of demonstrators breaking down doors, hurling smoke bombs in corridors and allegations of assaults against campus staff.

Nine men aged between 18- and 24-years-old and five women aged between 21- and 23-year-old were arrested on suspicion of offences including aggravated trespass, assault and criminal damage.

Several of those arrested are from Birmingham but others hail from Cambridge, Nottingham, Leicester, London, Leeds, Rugby and Buckinghamshire. They remain in police custody this morning (Jan 30) and will be questioned later today.

Birmingham Police Superintendent Lee Kendrick was at the university site last night. He said: “This may well have been billed as a peaceful protest but it escalated into a serious public order incident – a criminal investigation has been launched and anyone found to have acted unlawfully will be punished.”

A spokesperson for Birmingham University said they had “no choice” but to call in police support. She added: “The actions of Defend Education Birmingham, a group not affiliated to the Guild of Students or in any way representative of our student body, included defacing buildings and property, throwing smoke bombs and fireworks, smashing down doors, damaging buildings including Aston Webb and the Old Joe clock tower, and injuring staff.  

“Given the serious nature of their actions, the University had no choice but to ask the police for assistance in restoring order and protecting students, staff and university property.

“Whilst peaceful protest is part of university life, the University cannot tolerate behaviour that causes harm to individuals, damage to property or significant disruption to our university community.”

Supt Kendrick also countered accusations circulating on social media accusing police of “kettling” demonstrators.

He added: “We strongly refute any suggestions of containing or ‘kettling’ a lawful protest. Police were called to the site by the university as a result of demonstrators breaking into buildings, damaging property and assaulting staff. The suspects were detained by police and required to give their details ahead of the pending criminal investigation – any that refused were arrested.”


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