Glasgow Uni protests
PROTESTING Glasgow University students reoccupied a campus building on Wednesday just hours after sparking a major police operation to evict them.
Around 100 officers, a helicopter and police dogs were called in by uni bosses to end a seven-week protest against budget cuts being held at the uni's Hetherington Club.
But demonstrators who were turfed out of the premises quickly moved on to occupy the foyer outside principal Anton Muscatelli's office, forcing management into a humiliating climbdown.
The Hetherington Club has now been handed back to the students with a promise that police will not be called again. Muscatelli has even offered to refurbish the toilets.
The move is understood to have infuriated Strathclyde Police chiefs. A force insider said: "The boss had steam coming out of his ears when he heard about this. The operation was carried out after a call for assistance from the university and cost tens of thousands of pounds.
"The whole thing has been completely mishandled by the uni."
Student leaders accused the university and police of heavy-handed tactics during the raid on Tuesday.
A university spokesman said: "After discussion with management, it was agreed that students 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."
The occupation of the former club for postgraduates and mature students, which is scheduled for refurbishment, started on February 1.
Student representatives described the presence of 80 officers, more than a dozen vehicles and a police helicopter at the scene yesterday as disproportionate and unacceptable.
Officers arrested one woman for an alleged obstruction.
Tommy Gore, president of the Student Representative Council (SRC), said that the events of yesterday were a distraction from work to help those affected by the proposed cuts.
He said: "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.
He said an estimated 60-100 people remained at the Hetherington on Wednesday.
Strathclyde Police said yesterday that suggestions its response was disproportionate were "ridiculous".
Superintendent Nelson Telfer said: "Strathclyde Police regularly facilitates organised protests and marches but we had no prior knowledge of the action at the university and had to react in real time.
"It is testament to the officers' judgment and discretion that no one was injured."