27 February 2008
Students protest across Britain over university arms links
Students across Britain have today joined protests against their universities' links with the arms trade. With the support of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) they have called for an end to university arms investments and to the involvement of arms companies in academic research. At University College London (UCL), students dressed as arms dealers and sold fake weapons in the main quad. Students at Lancaster University attended an open-air debate and voted overwhelmingly against their university's links with BAE Systems. Demonstrations are under way at several universities, including Warwick, Manchester, Nottingham, Lancaster and Newcastle.
The protests follow a rise in student concern over the arms trade. In recent years, institutions including the University of Wales, Bangor and the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London have divested from arms companies in response to campaigning by students and university staff.
Joanna Hill, a student at Lancaster University, said:
"I've joined this protest because I don't want my fees funding BAE. Students across Britain have today campaigned for ethical investment and made clear that they do not want their universities supporting the arms trade."
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. Today's events have been organised by students and student groups, with the support of CAAT and People & Planet . People & Planet is the largest student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment.
3. The most recent information on universities' arms investments can be found here.
4. Information on the influence of arms companies on university research can be found at Study War No More. This is based on the report Study War No More, published by CAAT and the Fellowship of Reconciliation .
5. Spokespeople for CAAT, and students involved in the campaign, are available for interview.
6. Photographs of today's protests are available on request.
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