Hetherington Rebooted!

Apologies for lack of an update.  We’ve been a bit busy!

tldr; On Tuesday we were evicted from the Free Hetherington by a massive police and security guard operation that lasted several hours and resulted in many of us being injured and arrested.  We then immediately occupied the senate rooms.  We had a mass meeting with management, ate pizza and enjoyed a free gig by David Rovics.  At 10pm we were told that as long as we vacated the senate rooms we could have the hetherington back!  So within 12 hours of the last occupier being dragged out, we were back in the Free Hetherington and watched Jack giving a fantastic Newsnight Scotland performance of the events of the day.

Longer version … 

On Tuesday university security and approximately 80 police, including a canine unit, police horses and a police helicopter circling overhead from about 10am evicted us from the Hetherington in a heavy handed operation lasting several hours.  Those of us that were not inside at the time resisted by sitting down in front of the doors and blocking the entrance in.  Many of us sustained injuries including concussion caused by a security guard hitting an occupiers head off a wall and floor, several shoulder dislocations and many cuts and bruises.  So far there have been 3 arrests as well.

After the final occupier was carried out by several police, we marched on the main University building and approx 100 of us occupied the Senate rooms – the incredibly plush suite of rooms where the senior university management is based and where they host their meetings and events.

After several hours the senior management team came and finally agreed to have the mass meeting we’ve been requesting of them for weeks.  Escalating tactics clearly works!

At that point access to the building was also restricted which meant that the folks who had gone to get food and, inevitably, coffee weren’t able to come back in.  Donation from others who showed their solidarity in all sorts of wonderful ways including some yummy roasted vegetable pizzas (thank you whoever you are!) were not being allowed in.  However we had a very cunning plan.  Tying together the tablecloths that no senate room would be the same without, within the hour we brought all the food up and were able to hand out fresh, hot pizza in front of the management who had banned access to the building.  They then agreed that those who had been involved earlier should be allowed back in as it was undemocratic that decisions were being made without them.

Also at this time David Rovics appeared.  So immediately following the meeting with management we set up chairs in the biggest room and enjoyed a gig!

About an hour into the gig, which included us going out onto the balcony so that those stuck outside could be a part of it, word came that management were offering us the Hetherington back, in return for us vacating the Senate rooms.  Direct action gets results!

We had a meeting to decide what to do and agreed to return to the Hetherington, but that before we would leave Senate we wanted a delegation to be inside the Hetherington so that we could be sure it wasn’t a trick.  We also wanted the water and electricity checked out as both had been turned off after the eviction.  Finally the phone call came through and singing and chanting we left the Senate rooms and returned to the Refreed Hetherington to watch Jack give a fantastic performance on Newsnight Scotland.

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4 Responses to Hetherington Rebooted!

  1. Jibbidy says:

    Free Heth in this week’s Schnews!


  2. Andy Baker says:

    How long is this occupation going to last? I don’t mean that as criticism, I’m just curious what the long term plan is here.

    From what I understand, the protest isn’t about the Hetherington so much as it’s about the general situation with cuts. However surely at some point we get to a stage in which the occupation does more harm than good. The building could clearly be used in a better way for students throughout the university – the plan was to refurbish it and use it for classes – so I don’t see how occupying it long term (i.e. once it’s moved beyond a protest to a long term arrangement) really does anyone any good. Is there a plan to withdraw at some point?

  3. Pingback: Response to claims made in the Glasgow Guardian | the Free Hetherington

  4. Pingback: 2011 in review: some forgotten highlights of the year | Cautiously pessimistic

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