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.
— WFFE (@WarwickFreeEd) December 3, 2014
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.”