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University of Glasgow protesters move back into Hetherington club

Students evicted after a seven week sit-in back inside after university management strike deal.

Hetherington club protest: The scene on Tuesday as students were evicted.
© STV

Students from the University of Glasgow have re-occupied a building they were evicted from on Tuesday.

Protesters have demonstrated for the past seven weeks inside the university’s Hetherington club against university principal Professor Anton Muscatelli and proposed cuts of £20m at the establishment. They were evicted as hundreds of angry students and a large police presence gathered outside the building.

Following that eviction, a number of protesters managed to get inside the Melville and Turnbull rooms at the university’s main building. Now, after striking a deal with university management, dozens of them have moved out and back into the Hetherington club.

In a statement, a spokesman from the university said: "Yesterday afternoon a group of student protesters forced their way into the main university building and occupied a central area.

"After discussion with university management it was agreed that they return to the Hetherington building and continue the occupation. We are pleased that this happened in an orderly fashion. Discussion between the protesters and the university is continuing."

Tommy Gore, president of the Student Representative Council (SRC), said that the events of Tuesday were a distraction. He commented: "We recognise the message that the protesters are trying to get across but the university has plans for the Hetherington building and those are plans we support.

"They include a sound-proof lab for music students for example. What we really want to see is a peaceful conclusion to the occupation."

Mr Gore said the university had been "clearly unprepared" for the response by students to the moves to evict them, and estimated 60-100 people remained at the Hetherington on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the man in charge of the police response at the student protest defended his officers after politicians and a student group criticised them for their ‘heavy handed’ response.

Superintendent Nelson Telfer made the comments to STV News following criticism from a former MSP, a Glasgow councillor and the Glasgow University Student Representative Council.

Police were first called at around 10.30am by members of staff at the university. Over the next few hours, as the protesters left the inside of the Hetherington building, the numbers of protesters outside swelled to around 150.

When asked if the police response was disproportionate, Superintendent Telfer commented: "I would have to refute that in the strongest terms. Our officers’ response was proportionate to the situation and severe provocation that they sometimes faced today.

"I think it is of note there was only one arrest and that was after the incident. No people injured. No officers injured. In the strongest terms, I would say allegations of police brutality are absolute nonsense."

Frances Curran, a former Scottish Socialist MSP, criticised the response along with Martha Wardrop, a green councillor on Glasgow City Council. The Glasgow University Student Representative Council claimed that 80 police officers, 18 police vehicles and a police helicopter were at the scene. Police did not confirm how many officers and resources were deployed.

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