Uni of Manchester students dragged from campus building by bailiffs

Moment University of Manchester students are dragged out of campus building by bailiffs after weeks-long strike in row over rent

  • Around 20 protesters occupying the university building when bailiffs arrived
  • The group said the student rent strikers were ‘forcefully removed’ but will persist

This is the moment University of Manchester students are ‘forcefully dragged’ out of a campus building by private bailiffs in a row over rent costs.

Footage emerged of 20 student occupiers being hauled off the floor and out of the premises in the early hours of the morning. 

Protesters at the University of Manchester are demanding a 30 per cent rent reduction, a rent freeze and a cost-of-living payment of £1,500, as part of their demands.

A student described the ‘very scary experience’ as around 15 uniformed bailiffs removed demonstrators and ejected them from the building.

One method has seen student protesters occupy buildings to communicate their message, with the Simon Building at the heart of the University of Manchester campus occupied since mid February. 

The UoM Rent Strike 2023 group said that at around 5.20am yesterday, bailiffs entered the Simon Building and ‘began forcefully removing student occupiers’ after a possession order was granted in court on Monday and a notice given to occupiers on Tuesday.

They said bailiffs arrived with ‘no warning’ and, after occupiers refused to leave of their own accord, ‘forcefully dragged and carried them out the building’.

One occupier, a 20-year-old student at the University of Manchester who did not wish to be named, said the presence of bailiffs was ‘terrifying’.

They told the PA news agency: ‘We all wake up to a massive bang, and about a dozen men in the room all suited and booted telling us to get up and get out.

‘I was pushed into a lift while I was standing.

‘But I was trying to ensure that everyone that was being carried was safely carried.

‘So I was filming.

A student protester could be seen being removed from the campus building by private bailiffs

Students lying down on the floor were ‘forcefully’ removed from the Simon Building at the University of Manchester

‘There were a lot of people being manhandled – they’re supposed to be about four people per person, but they were like dragging people on the floor and stuff.

‘So I was essentially escorting people to the lifts to try and make sure that they got out safely, filming everything, making sure they weren’t left with a bailiff by themselves.

‘It’s a very scary experience. I think for most of us it was our first experience of a bailiff.

‘And they were as terrifying as you think they are. It was all quite an intense experience.’

The UoM Rent Strike group claimed a statement of solidarity with students currently withholding rent and engaging in university building occupation has been signed by MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Nadia Whittome.

In a statement, the UoM Rent Strike 2023 group said: ‘The University has made it clear that they would rather drag their students out of a building than listen to our concerns.

‘The cost of living crisis isn’t going anywhere and neither are we.

‘Occupations are only one of many tactics, and this eviction will not slow down our campaign one bit.’

The 20-year-old protester said that Wednesday’s incident has not discouraged them from attempting to achieve negotiations with the university.

Protesters at the University of Manchester are demanding a 30 per cent rent reduction

The student can be seen being removed by the private bailiffs in the early hours of Wednesday morning 

‘(The) university makes so much money and everyone’s living conditions are awful,’ they said.

‘All we want is them to negotiate with us and they just won’t do it.

‘It’s really just reminded us why we’re doing this. We have no plans to stop trying to get them to negotiate with us.’

A University of Manchester spokesperson said: ‘On Wednesday morning officers of the High Court attended the Simon Building to enforce a court order, on a small group of students who had been illegally occupying rooms there since February 13, 2023.

‘This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on March 15, 2023.

‘The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers.

‘We very much regret having to do this, but the situation has been going on for a significant amount of time and has caused ongoing disruption to students and the people who work in the building.’

A spokesperson from Greater Manchester Police told PA that no arrests have been made over the last few days at the university, and around 16 people were removed from the Simon Building.

The rent strikers are now preparing to have even more students join the strike for the next payment on April 20.

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