A policeman confronts a student at the sit-in. Photo: WFEE.
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Video: Police appear to assault students at peaceful protest

A small "free education" sit-in was disrupted this afternoon by police, who used force to disperse the group and arrested three students. 

Police appear to have tasered, CS-sprayed and assaulted students taking part in a “free education” protest at Warwick University.

Here is the video of the incident, courtesy of LiveLeak, which shows students being thrown to the ground, put in headlocks and sprayed by the police. They are accompanied by multiple security guards. 

A second video, which has since been made private, captured the incident from the other side of the room and shows a series of students being dragged from the foyer. This shorter video was also captured.

The students were meeting as part of the “Warwick for Free Education” group. Pictures of the meeting before the violence appear to show a small, peaceful, sit-in, of around two dozen students sitting in a circle.

The West Midlands police have published a statement absolving themselves of wrongdoing. They offered no reply to questions of their conduct and, despite having a pre-prepared statement, claimed to have not seen the video.

Three students have been arrested – one on suspicion of assault and two for obstructing the police.

Here is their statement in full:

Police were called to reports of an assault at the University of Warwick Central Campus in Coventry this afternoon.

Officers arrived at Senate House at 4.50pm to find a group of around 25 students protesting about fees and a staff member reported that he had been assaulted by one of the group.

Three people were arrested from the site, one on suspicion of assault and two others on suspicion of obstructing police.

Police officers and security staff from the university worked together to ensure everyone was safe. The protest continues and officers remain at the scene to ensure there is no further breach of the peace.

Callum Cant, an undergraduate at the university who was present throughout, told the New Statesman that the reports of a student assault on a member of staff are "based on the university calling them and saying it happened, I saw absolutely nothing". The police would not describe the nature of the assault, but it seems that one of the security guards was the supposed victim. 

Craig McVey, a PhD student who was also present, told the Coventry Telegraph:

“A police officer took out his CS spray and sprayed it in one person’s eyes and then into a crowd of about ten people. A taser was taken out and was being made to crackle by pressing the trigger, but it wasn’t used.”

Harry Lambert was the editor of May2015, the New Statesman's election website.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.