National demo against privatisation - University of Sussex - updates

National demo against privatisation - University of Sussex - updates

Monday March 25th is the national demonstration against privatisation being held at the University of Sussex. We'll edit this post with updates throughout the day. Also keep an eye on the comments for the latest, and the #Mar25 hashtag on twitter.

From @Kate_Trevor
16.15 We are ending our coverage of the #Mar25 events for now. Thanks for reading and your help on Twitter, read below for a sense of whats been happening at Sussex University today and check back later for more reports and analysis.

The occupation has grown and at this moment there is an assembly of over 300 people on the top floor of Bramber House (the first building occupied in Feb 2013) which is fleshing out what happens next. Already today has seen the launch of a new pop up union made up of rank and file members of existing campus unions who want to push the struggle forward. More on that later too.

For more updates from today suggest you follow #Mar25 on Twitter.

From @thebadgernews

16:00 As assembly of students gets under way in occupied building @theBadgerNews reports of doors locked and large police presence in the building itself.

Seems clear that protestors are now being allowed into occupation, doors are locked but occupiers are letting people in from @thebadgernews

15.51 With the situation calming down outside the occupation of Bramber House bolstered, @occupy_sussex tweets that the occupiers are now preparing for a mass meeting with over 650 people present over what comes next.


15.40 @occupy_sussex tweets to let everyone know that occupation has now taken top floor of Bramber House.

Police Liaison Officers have been seen trying to access the occupation with dubious claims of safety concerns.

@TheBadgerNews has been doing an amazing job of keeping reality in focus today on the ground at tweets to confirm that what made it into the bonfire was not dissertations as was being touted on Twitter by detractors and students who dont seem themsleves as aligned with occupiers.

Now, get over it.

15.30 Internet reports are being marred by people attempting to make bizarre defences of property whilst detracting from protestors with their tedious dialogue. It seems so easy to repeat the cliches about broken windows and become bogged down in a boring narrative of protestors vs protestors. When reports from the ground say the demonstration has been peaceful, rowdy and joyous (@JosephKay76)

Meanwhile police have surrounded the once occupied management building, to stop it being re-occupied.

Protestors have moved to Bramber house in order to reinforce occupation there. Occupation seems to have spread throughout the building which is a conference centre.

15.21 Some photos from the the roof do occupied Bramber House


15.15 Small bonfire being put out

The scene at Sussex house

Both images @TheBadgerNews

15:10 Fireworks seen and heard on campus as protest picks up, police apparently surrounding site of original occupation at Bramber House which were people are not allowed in to support the occupation.

Documents on fire outside Bramber House from @occupy_sussex

Correction: burning documents left behind at management building according to @JospehKay76 as students move to Bramber House which is threatened with eviction.

15:05 Occupiers are leaving occupied management building and heading to reinforce occupation at Bramber House (site of original occupation). Low police presence reports @HaircutsBTP

Security are apparently restricting access into occupation, people only being allowed out.

@JosephKay76 reports that documents seized from management office are being burt.

14.45 Police reported to be inside Sussex House, main admin building on campus and home to management which was barricaded last night by the University. Situation unclear. Alarms are still going off in the building.

Reporter for Vice UK on the ground at Sussex"

"About 300 protesters inside the management building, cops looking ready to storm in, barricades have been set up." from @Hengry_Langston


14.34 Reports that some protestors are heading back to Library Square. After a lull movement seems to have picked up again. Part of campus seems to be blockaded in attempt to stop police entering, some protestors are headed back to aLibrary square whilst Sussex House remains occupied.

14.30 @HaricutsBTP tweets photo of the door which was in the way of Sussex occupiers moving into Sussex House.

@TheBadgerNews with images of students protecting the march

Protestors are apparently in the VC's office.

14.24 @ThebadgerNews reporting a calming of tenions between police and protestors. Protestors had formed a line to protect themselves

@Jo_cee17 tweets that as police retreated, protestors were able to occupy Sussex House.

14.16 Police seem to have been pushed back, but possibly regrouping and arming themselves for further confrontation.


Banners dropped from roof of Sussex House


14.09 Reports from the march gathering at Sussex House that riot police have moved in and there is some mention of a window being broken.


@SanjeeDah reporting that crowd chants "Off our campus" at police.

Many years it was unheard of that police were found on campus and any encroachment was widely resisted. Now it seems the norm that they should be there.

@JospehKay76 reports police have attacked protestors. While others mention that police have been surrounded by protestors.

13.59 The march has arrived at Sussex House, the main administration building on campus home to management which has been barricaded the night before.




13.54More photos from the march coming in on Twitter...

Police on campus @IzzyKoksal

Supporters on the roof of a bridge @thinktyler

Meanwhile @thebadgernews is reporting that local busses are being turned away from campus.

13.45 The demo has moved off and is now fully mobile.

March from @thebadgernews

Police on campus from @thebadgernews


View from the occupation by

13.34 @TheBadgerNews reporting on Twitter that Labour MP Katie Clarke is boo'd and heckled during speech by some protestors. Last week Labour was widely denounced for helping a bill on Workfare through the House of Commons.

Labour MP heckled during speech from @TheBadgerNews

Twitter commentary focussing on one hand of people calling hecklers "divisive" to the moment, the same old arguements countered with the fact that people point out that protestors don't need support from MP's who do nothing and turn up at the last minute.

13.28 Banner drops from roof as march gets ready to head off

"VCEG parasites off campus!" from @TheBadgerNews

13:23 Speeches taking place in Library Square and the occasion is marked by the launch of a new 'pop-up union' in a bid to halt the outsourcing of 235 jobs on campus in a collaboration between the rank and file members of three unions on campus along with students. This appears to be an attempt to move past the existing methods of communication on campus and create common ground to push the struggle forward by people frustrated by the traditional unions involved. More at

13:10 Photos coming in from Library Square where @JosephKay76 writes there must be over 1000 people gathering...


From @CommsUSSU

13:00 The main event of the day is due to kick off at 1pm, as reports come in from Twitter of crowds gathering on campus.

From @occupy_sussex

Photo from @MsVicButcher

Police gathering for Sussex demo from @AbigailDombey

12:49 - Rumours are circulating online suggesting university registrar John Duffy (see earlier updates) has resigned. As these are rumours you might want to contact him to check -


Telephone numbers
Internal: 3814 or 8903
UK: (01273) 873814 or (01273) 678903
International: +44 1273 873814 or +44 1273 678903

12:34 - Coaches from other universities have started to arrive with the Sussex student paper reporting they're from the University of East Anglia and London universities. Security are preventing visiting students from using the facilities according to @lukeaneal:

Just got off the coach and security wouldn't let me go for a wee @occupy_sussex #mar25

12:18 - Somebody has been busy making a book bloc...

12:18 - Looks like today is going to be big! Coaches from London almost at Sussex University. @Sian__Watson tweets:

@occupy_sussex almost there! UCL coachs are packed. #Mar25

12:09 - @TheBadgerNews tweets:

And the sign up. #Mar25

11:40 - All five of the cafes on campus have now been occupied by students and closed following the closure of the library cafe.

11:26 - Remember folks, today isn't due to start until 1pm. See you in Library Square!

11:25 - @occupy_sussex tweets:

Jubilee cafe occupied. Buzz of excitement in campus @SussexUni #Mar25

11:20 - Dhaba cafe now also shut down. Quote from staff "we're not going to miss this demo".

11:14 - Looks like a spontaneous student shut-down of campus cafes. Staff are thanking the students and taking the day off. @occupy_sussex tweets:

Jubilee cafe is occupied and shut. Staff again thank the protestors. #Mar25

11:11 - Bridge Cafe also occupied and shut down. Staff reportedly thanked the occupiers for the time off.

10:49 - Sodexo are rumoured to be one of the bidders for the catering contract. Not if we can help it.

10:45 - @thinktyler tweets:

#Mar25 has started. Medical Block cafe occupied/blockaded #Mar25

10:38 - According to reports on Twitter, the BSMS (medical school) cafe has been occupied.

10:18 - John Duffy's been busy. He's also sent a letter to staff in Sussex House described as "full of lies and fear mongering as per always" by occupiers. In the confirms the bars on Sussex House windows "are designed to limit access through windows. We will remove them as soon as we judge they are no longer necessary." Scared much?

10:00 - @undersided tweets:

uni bosses forced to close 2 cafes, a bar, a restaurant, a bank, and a whole seminar building. fuck yeh. Shut down the factory #Mar25

@LigeiaMare adds:

Management have just announced that the 2 most profitable cafes on campus are closed today because of #Mar25 :) shutting down their own uni!

09:52 - University Registrar John Duffy has reportedly been on the radio complaining that occupiers did not consult him on plans to bring 'outsiders' onto campus. This is the same John Duffy whose proposals to bring 'external partners' onto campus were advertised in a journal before staff were even informed. A textbook example of irony, so he's being educational at least. Mr Duffy has form for being a prize cunt. In 2010, he perjured himself in the High Court in order to obtain an injunction against a student occupation, falsely claiming he was being held hostage. Students compiled a dossier refuting his fabrications here.

09:47 - Bramber House - where the occupiers are on the top floor - reportedly now on lockdown. Private security are IDing people on entry.

09:10 - The #Mar25 hashtag is starting to buzz with anticipation. So far we've learned that there were no dawn raids (yay), some people have come packing yellow face paint, and there are yellow swings hanging from trees on campus. Yellow has become the colour of the campaign, with students and staff wearing yellow squares inspired by the Québec student movement. Staff across campus have been showing their support for the anti-privatisation campaign by putting yellow paper in the windows. Most buildings on campus have some:

08:02 - University management have been stepping up a campaign of dirty tricks against the anti-privatisation movement in the run up to this demonstration. Last week, 'an anonymous source' called in fire safety officers in a failed bid to close the occupation on safety grounds. Subsequently the popular Meeting House venue was closed due to phantom 'flooding'. Management then removed the shower heads from the showers occupiers had been using. But despite the bungled clampdown, today's demonstration looks set to be big. Last night @occupy_sussex tweeted:

With students from across the county already in the occupation prepping for #Mar25 including London, Exeter, Manchester, Essex and Bristol

Also last night, wooden barricades were constructed around management's offices:

Posted By

Mar 25 2013 08:08


Attached files


fingers malone
Mar 25 2013 15:28

Fantastic, turnout is impressive, looks really high energy, was really nice to read staff are thanking students for occupying the cafeterias! Good luck everyone and hope everyone is alright and no one hurt. Yellow squares are a genius idea btw.

Mar 25 2013 17:39

thanks for the coverage. fucking window defenders on twitter.

Jason Cortez
Mar 25 2013 18:16

Good day in all the occupation has now taken the s
Second floor in Bramber house.

Jacques Roux
Mar 25 2013 19:20

Press release form Occupy Sussex

Press Release – 25/03/13 – 4.30pm

Today marks an important and momentous day in the history of resistance at Sussex University and in the United Kingdom. At 1pm today, students from across the country stood alongside academics, university staff and others in a mass display of solidarity and expressed anger at the Management of Sussex University. At present, a National General Meeting is taking place to discuss and plan the future of the national campaign.

We have been joined by over 2000 people, including coachloads of students and faculty from Universities such as UCL, Exeter, Manchester, Warwick, Bristol etc. This is on top of countless supporters from the University and local community.

Today saw the launch of the ‘Pop Up Union’, an innovative, horizontally organised trade union, run by staff on campus. Workers at the University of Sussex have formed the new union in a bid to halt the outsourcing of 235 campus jobs. The initiative comes from rank-and-file members of the three recognised campus trade unions, with the support of students from the now six-week old occupation of the University’s Conference Centre.
During the announcement of its formation today, a member stated "The Pop-Up Union is a result of management’s refusal to engage meaningfully with staff, students, and the recognised trade unions for over 10 months. We are now taking things into our own hands. We are urging all Sussex staff to join the Pop-Up Union so that we can stand together against the attack on workers terms and conditions that outsourcing represents."
The demonstration began with inspirational speeches and rallying calls from Alfie Meadows, Katy Clark, Michael Chessum, Dr Maia Pal, Greg Paterson and others. This support from across the United Kingdom is indicative of the significance of the campaign that is taking place at Sussex. An EDM has been tabled in parliament, senior politicians are writing to the Vice Chancellor, and the campaign is the focus of a growing movement. Today also saw the delivery of a petition signed by 5000 people demanding a halt to the privatization plans, and the discussions of industrial action being mounted.

Today saw the emergence of a reinvigorated community, both at Sussex, across other universities, and throughout public sector institutions bearing the brunt of… Students and faculty met during the demonstration to plan and discuss how we grow and support each other in this united struggle.

In occupying all cafes on campus, we have provided staff the opportunity to join our demonstration at 1pm. Moreover a clear message is sent to Sodexo that they are not welcomed to our campus, and action will continually be taken to stop this. In taking over and occupying Sussex House, the University’s management building, the campus community have reclaimed the space from which these unilateral, detrimental and indefensible decisions have been made.

Today has seen action taken by the police force that has once again demonstrated restrictions on the right to protest. The decision to call scores of riot police onto campus to inhibit the action by staff, students, faculty and guests is further evidence that management are on the back foot, and that the community is set to win. Police lines were attacking students prior to the occupation of Sussex House. In the past, management have tried to divert successful campaigns focus away from its aims into protecting the rightful actions of victimised staff and students. We will adamantly defend all who joined us today, but we pledge not to be distracted from what we are fighting for. We will not let management rip apart our community, our education, and the future of universities.

All plans for today’s demonstration were peaceful. Once again, repeated excessive brutality of the police force has led to clashes. Hearing Alfie Meadows speak at the rally encapsulated this. The police force made no arrests today, a telling sign.

We once again reiterate the demands of this campaign and the current occupation:

1. A complete halting of the ongoing bidding process and end to the entire privatization program, effective immediately.
2. A commission of students, staff and lecturers to be formed. With full remit to re-evaluate procedures and channels for holding management accountable as well as reviewing and extending student and workers’ say in these decisions.
3. An end to the intimidation that senior and middle management have used to deter students and workers for airing and acting on their concerns.

Mar 26 2013 07:49


Anyone have any impressions from the day that they want to share? Looked great judging from all the pictures..

Chilli Sauce
Mar 26 2013 08:51

Does anyone know how long the cafe occupations held? Presumably not overnight/past closing time?

Joseph Kay
Mar 26 2013 09:23

I think the café occupations only lasted long enough for the staff to be sent home for the day. Apparently they joined the demo.

Police have started a criminal investigation so if anyone's reading this and sitting on potentially incriminating footage don't upload it, destroy it, or failing that stick it on a memory stick and put it somewhere the police can't seize it.

There's also rumours of a court injunction this morning.

Joseph Kay
Mar 26 2013 09:34

Apparently Unison pre-emptively boycotted the demonstration because it wasn't authorised by police. So there were banners there from healthcare and local government Unison branches, but not the Sussex one. Unison have previously tried to cancel demonstrations organised by workers and students, so probably not a surprise. That said, there were lots of Unison members there regardless, as well as banners from Unite, UCU, RMT, PCS, and the new Pop-Up Union.

Chilli Sauce
Mar 26 2013 09:44
Pop-Up Union


And just more information generally, comrade!

Joseph Kay
Mar 26 2013 10:09
Mar 26 2013 10:42

Was a really good day all in all, had more of the energy and confidence of 2010 and I was surprised by the the numbers who came. Whether they occupied the management building or not is kind of irrelevant, it goes smashed up so bad I doubt it will be in use for weeks. COMMUNISM banner was epic, also one saying "the university is a shop. LOOT!". Real militancy was shown when the police entered the crowd and then had their arse handed to them.

Mar 26 2013 18:12

Novara media: ‘A4E in the UK’ The Political Economy of Outsourcing in the UK Since 2010

On this week’s show Aaron Peters and James Butler discuss outsourcing in the UK. Outsourcing has seen a massive explosion since 2010 with the UK now being the world’s second largest outsourcing market.

UK public sector the world’s second largest outsourcing market

UNISON, Unite and GMB sign agreement with Sodexo (2011)

Joseph Kay
Mar 26 2013 14:32

Ok, so there's a High Court Injunction that apparently bans ALL CAMPUS PROTEST FOR SIX MONTHS. Apparently it applies to any issue, and to everything from leafletting up. Edit: this is due to the way the defendent is defined, anyone who enters campus and engages in protest activity.

Mar 27 2013 14:18

Just seen this on facebook:

@occupy_sussex: 4 riot police vans @sussexuni we NEED your support. Get to occupation ASAP and spread the word. Demo at 1pm.

Good luck guys!

Caiman del Barrio
Mar 27 2013 15:49

Man I really hope that this page gets printed out & scanned again for future legal proceedings.

John Duffy - seeing as how you're reading this, i hope you never ever have a good night's sleep ever again. I hope you lie in bed tonight worrying about this occupation, and wondering why anonymous people are saying this stuff to you on the internet. I hope all of your personal relationships collapse due to the stress of being found out, and that your every meal tastes like cardboard.

Jason Cortez
Mar 27 2013 21:17

here is an account of Monday's demo

Joseph Kay
Mar 27 2013 21:49
Mar 27 2013 22:32

I was in court today. A strange experience.

What happened was that the management were seeking a possession order as reported in the BBC News article, and despite their best efforts to scare the judge with tales of "violence" at yesterday's protest, were unable to get this. Well, sort of. They have been granted a possession order for the whole of campus EXCEPT Bramber House, and this is because the judge's understanding is that the occupation there is entirely peaceful and conducted with proper respect for health and safety law (true) whereas yesterday’s campus-wide demo was a ghastly violent affair, mainly involving outsiders and largely unrelated to the occupation of Bramber House, and requiring police action to contain the terrible wanton violence (false). For example, it was claimed that crowbars and wooden bats were used to break into Sussex House (this was refuted by a student who was there.)

The reason the judge has these ideas is because this BS is what the management lawyer was pushing and providing “evidence” for in the form of photos of a smashed door and a quote from an Argus article ( by a security guard who had a nasty time yesterday at Sussex House. The judge was sceptical and rightly noted that the Argus piece does not constitute evidence, however, it was clear from the public gallery that she is concerned that there is a “violence problem” on campus in relation to the protests. This is why she granted the injunction on Monday as well, by the way. Management’s lawyer also said some stuff about catering staff being in fear at various café occupations/closures and about Sussex House staff being “terrorised” during the break-in yesterday.

We need to counter the management propaganda in the court, we all know it's shite they're talking but gotta convince the judge. Three students tried to do so, and did a fair job, but we need evidence to put to the judge that the characterisation of Monday’s protest as a big load of outside-agitator violent smashydoorporn is wrong. Witness statements from those who were there, hopefully something from Dr Maia Pal and/or from the Labour politician who spoke in Library Square, or from Alfie Meadows. The judge has to, legally, go by evidence so we need to give her evidence that management’s lawyer is fearmongering big time. And we need this by 14:00 tomorrow when the hearing re-opens.

Management’s lawyer is pushing to get this all done by the end of tomorrow, time really is critical here. So if anyone can get any witness statements from staff who did NOT feel “terrorised” and who support the protests and occupation, from people who were there and can describe the non-threatening atmosphere of the protests, great.

Also it’s worth noting that the management lawyer tried to intimidate the students who spoke up in court by trying to get them named as “parties” on the possession order. The defence lawyer who was representing the students for free said afterwards that this was bullshit and just an attempt to intimidate, shows the depths that these fuckers will go to though eh.

Mar 28 2013 00:13

Someone in the Facebook group "stop the privatization of sussex university services" has asked if anyone can "unpack" the Uni management's shit "Q&A" available here. I am super tired and can't do this shit now, was trying to do it in a funny way but realised I am not up to it. also, it seems full of pretty classic neo-liberal "privatisation is great" memes so perhaps someone here with mor eexperience in debunking this type of caca can take it apart?

Chilli Sauce
Mar 28 2013 09:29
Duffy wrote:
While we had made it clear to occupiers that their sit-in was unacceptable, we had tolerated it for several weeks because we could contain it without undue disruption to the day-to-day operation of the university.

I really like this. Yeah, we're cool with protest and occupation and all. But once it begins to actually interfere, we're calling in the state.

Duffy, you're a sad disgrace of a human being.

Rob Ray
Mar 28 2013 13:13

I wonder what Duffy saw himself becoming when he was young, as he played with his toys.

Did he fancy himself a hero, saving the world? Or was the shadow of the parasite he was to become inked into his eyes even then, a lurking horror glimpsed in the mirror of an older man, acting without honour in the service of pure greed, despised by those around him. A hypocrite, a liar and a coward.

Did the child cry then, knowing what it was to become? Or does it cry now within the back of his mind, behind layers of self-justifying excuses...

Mar 28 2013 20:28

Just left court again. We lost, the possession order on Bramber House has been granted. This means that no protest is legally permissible on Sussex campus now, as a matter of law. The judge (a different one from yesterday) ruled that there was no legally admissible defence to the University management's claims to possession, based on previous case law. He also refused permission to appeal. He noted, with a jaw-dropping lack of irony, in his summing-up that due to "loss of business revenue" due to the occupation:

The real losers if this protest is not brought to an end soon will be the staff of the university who will be at risk of losing their jobs.


Sealed order for possession expected soon, management's lawyers indicated that they would be looking to enforce the court's decision by the weekend.

Mar 28 2013 20:34

This very Libcom thread was used by the management lawyer as "evidence" of a timeline of what was happening, referring to the photos.

The judge asked in well-bred tone of voice "What is ""?"

Management lawyer: "Um, err... I... I don't really know! It says here... um... it is a "liberal communist" magazine?"

funniest thing that happened today, oh yeah court was delayed starting for more than 2 hours too, and we lost, a fucking massive barrel o laughs in the Rolls Building today folks!

Mar 28 2013 21:04

Shit, thanks for the updates and sorry I couldn't get to either of the court dates. We at SOAS could have done with the experience as well as when we went through the same thing in 2010 no-one knew what the fuck to do or how to deal with a court case.
Still, Monday was an inspiring day to have been a part of. Full solidarity to the fighting Sussex students, they really know how to resist

Chilli Sauce
Mar 29 2013 12:05

Thanks for the updates OneKlart.

What's the latest?

Oh, I'm presuming there was discussions of the legal eviction probability beforehand? I mean, any time any form of protest is effective, we can expect the state to step in.

Mar 29 2013 14:46

Bailliffs and private security on-site. Private security with covered faces filming anyone who attempts to go near Bramber House.

People allowed out of occupation, not in, that is since last night. Eviction orders posted aroud campus last night. Brighton's shit tabloid newspaper "The Argus" reporting on bailiffs/security.

Sources for info, updated quasi-regularly so keep checking:

Mar 29 2013 15:12

More detail on legal decision here.

Mar 29 2013 17:46

Occupation still there as of one hour ago if FB is to be believed. ¡No pasaran!