The navy unit on campus has been targeted by protesters for the second time in as many weeks.
The protest took place on Tuesday night, outside a meeting of the University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) in the Mantell Building.
At around 7.30pm, 15-20 protesters are said to have arrived outside the building where they stayed for approximately an hour, bashing pots and pans and singing chants of “Get the Navy off our campus” and “No more war!” A banner proclaimed “If the recruiters told the truth, you wouldn’t want to join.”
The University had been alerted to the possibility of a demonstration and took precautionary security measures, with security guards positioned at the entrance of the building. At approximately 8pm several police officers arrived and the protest dispersed shortly afterwards.
The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests against URNU. Last week, the URNU stall at Freshers’ Fair was targeted by a group of protesters dressed as clowns, who sprayed the stall with paint and addressed nearby students with a megaphone. The University and the University of Sussex Students’ Union condemned this as “completely unacceptable intimidatory behaviour.” Last year, the same open meeting was stormed by a group of students who entered the building and were stopped and removed by URNU officials and security guards.
This time, the University, protesters and the URNU were in agreement that the protest passed peacefully.
One anonymous source, who claimed to be one of the protesters, told the Badger that in their opinion “the police and security on campus have launched a disproportionate response to the protests” and that the group will also be pursuing “constitutional means” to attempt to remove the URNU.
A spokesman for URNU told the Badger: “We understand that people have the right to peacefully protest – everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” He then emphasized: “We are endorsed by the University. They are happy that we are here. We are not a recruiting organisation for any arm of the military. We provide navigation, seamanship and leadership