EXCLUSIVE: Sheffield University Arts Tower occupiers received death threats

Student protesters who occupied a landmark Sheffield University building have received death threats, with some people on Facebook calling for them to be murdered.

The 25-strong group barricaded themselves inside the Arts Tower for four days in support of the ongoing university staff strike over pensions.

An anonymous source who was involved in the occupation said: “There were people on Facebook calling to burn down the Arts Tower with us inside it. Someone asked for us to be poisoned.

“Another person said police should come in and shoot us all in the head.”

She claimed that someone had also been trying to get the protesters’ names, addresses, and phone numbers.

The Arts Tower re-opened to all students today, after the ‘Sheffield student-worker solidarity’ movement took control of the building between Wednesday and Saturday of last week.

The shut-down of the tower was undertaken to show solidarity with lecturers, who have been striking against proposed cuts to their pensions by Universities UK.

A separate source said: “As a symbol, occupying the biggest university building in Western Europe – that sends a big message.

“For management in the university and Keith Burnett, to have their biggest building occupied, shows that students aren’t happy with the state of affairs.”

He added it was not the intention of the protesters to disrupt students and a large amount of the occupiers’ time was taken trying to smuggle coursework out past security.

He said: “We had to use fire doors. Sometimes this meant putting the work in bin liners in order to protect it from the rain, and just dropping it outside a door.”

Asked about the atmosphere inside the building, he added: “The exposure to social media took its toll on a lot of people.

“By no means was it a fun experience. It was incredibly stressful. I think we’re all incredibly tired and are taking this week to recover somewhat.”