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University of Manchester cuts off Wi-Fi for occupying strike students

Multiple students partaking in a rent strike at the University of Manchester have had their Wi-Fi cut off, as tensions continue to escalate.

This follows the startling events of last week, whereby a fence was erected surrounding the perimeter of student accommodation as a “safety measure”, costing £11,000 and taking place without prior warning. This was dismantled by students within a matter of hours.

Students have been partaking in the strike for the past month, due to insufficient support from the University of Manchester with regards to measures surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. They had planned another peaceful protest for Thursday, however this was moved indoors following SAFER (Student Action for a Fair Educated Response) receiving threats of fine and arrest by police in advance.

At approximately 2pm, students began occupying the tower block in Owens Park, Fallowfield, simultaneously releasing an open letter expressing their reasons for doing so.

It is understood that the students plan to continue occupying the premises until their demands are met, including compliance with their previous strike demands.

Greater Manchester Police said officers would support the university “wherever necessary” to deal with those involved, condemning any “breaches of Covid legislation.” The force was seen to demonstrate a clear escalation last night, with heavily increased police presence in the Fallowfield area.

A spokesperson from the university has said that they’re “aware of the protest by a handful of students” and that they’ve “made it clear to them that they shouldn’t be there and that they may also be in contravention of current national Health Protection Regulations.”

The occupiers remain adamant that they are not in breach of such regulations however, claiming that they are continuing to wear masks and socially distance inside the premises. They have also confirmed that they have enough food and drink to last them one week, but are able to get more, and plan to occupy the building until their demands have been met.

Are you participating in the UoM Rent Strike? Let us know your thoughts @pieradiouk.

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