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Students protesters forced to leave

Students occupying University College London in protest at the proposed rise in tuition fees will be forced to leave two of the sites, a court has ruled.

The university (UCL) was granted a possession order to evict the students from its Jeremy Bentham Room, which has been occupied since November 24, and part of the Slade School of Fine Art, which has been occupied since November 30.

The occupation by as many as 200 students was the highest-profile demonstration since more than 100 were arrested in Trafalgar Square on November 31.

A spokesman for UCL said talks with the students to bring the occupation to an end were ongoing.

In her judgment handed down at Central London County Court, Judge Faber granted possession orders for two occupied parts of UCL.

But the judge also granted the students' appeal for possession of the entire Gower Street campus.

Although the judge did not accept their argument that ending the occupation would breach their human rights, she said a successful appeal could mean a possession order for the Slade School was not justified.

Frank Harris, 19, one of the students involved in the court case, said: "We are very pleased with our partial victory and that the Judge accepted our evidence that both occupations have been peaceful and responsible, and did not disrupt academic activities."

The students now face a two-week wait to find out whether they will be ordered to pay legal costs of £40,000.

Sarah Cane-Brewer, also 19 and involved in the eviction dispute, said: "We are deeply distressed at the prospect of having to pay this huge sum on top of the debts we already owe, just for trying to defend the right to free speech.


From Belfast Telegraph