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Queen's University students' fossil fuel protest into fourth day

By Allan Preston

Published 14/12/2015

As world leaders gathered in Paris to try and solve climate change, environmentally-conscious students in Belfast spent the weekend locked in a stand-off with Queen's University.

Around 12 protesters have occupied a room in the Lanyon building since Friday and claimed security were refusing to let them bring in food.

The students from the QUB Fossil Free group say they are objecting to investments of £5.5m by Queen's University in companies like BP and Shell which produce fossil fuels.

The group said a rally in support of the protesters would take place this morning at the university's administration building at 11am.

UK Green Party leader Natalie Bennett gave the campaign a boost by tweeting her support for the protest on Friday.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from the sit-in protest, PHD student Ben Christman (28) said the group was prepared to stay indefinitely until their demands were met.

"We've had a couple of attempts to get food in through the window via a rope pulley system," he said. "We've got access to water but we can't bring in food or sanitary supplies.

"We're not causing any damage, we're being perfectly peaceful, we're just sitting in an office."

Yesterday, Queen's students' union president Caoimhe McNeill tweeted that she had been granted permission to bring in "one care package a day".

A spokesman for Queen's denied that security was preventing food getting to the protesters. "Security is (only) stopping access to the building because there is no access to that building over the weekend," he said.

He added that the university's investment committee have agreed to carry out a comprehensive review of its investment policy.

"The review is expected to take six to nine months and will be informed by best practice in the area of socially responsible investment."

The protesters have been keeping themselves amused by finding supporters online and singing protest songs.

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