YOUNG VOICES

Police Accused Of 'Extreme' Violence Against Warwick Students As Peaceful Protest Turns Ugly

04/12/2014 09:21 GMT | Updated 05/12/2014 15:59 GMT

Police have been accused of using "extreme, disproportionate" violence against a group of Warwick University students after a seemingly peaceful protest turned sour.

Video footage shows students from the Warwick For Free Education group involved in a scuffle with police, with one officer threatening to use a Taser.

Although the Warwick For Free Education group says the police action was unprovoked, the university has said police were called after a "shocking.. unprovoked act of violence" on one of its staff - while the West Midlands Police has confirmed its forces were called to reports of an assault.

Students say they were "punched, pushed onto the floor, dragged, rammed by their throat and kneed in the face". Several also claim they were subjected to CS spray.

The incident took place on Wednesday night at the university's Senate House. The Warwick student group is now organising a demonstration against police presence on campus, which will take place outside the same building on Thursday afternoon.

Three students were arrested at the sit-in protest, part of a national day of action against student fees.

A spokesperson from the university's press office, said: “Students have been planning protests across the country and we knew there would be a protest here.

“We have held a number of protests here in the past and security was on hand to help facilitate a peaceful protest.

“We have never had an issue of this nature in the past.

“Shockingly and surprisingly there appears to have been an unprovoked act of violence of such a nature that we had to call the police.”

Callum Cant, from Warwick For Free Education, said: “This sort of police escalation is unprecedented for small and very peaceful campus sit-ins.

"We are all disgusted at this heavy handed use of the police and ask the University to publicly condemn such an attack on its students.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Police confirmed: “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.”