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Thursday, 27 January, 2000, 08:19 GMT
Student occupation over fees

One of London University's schools is occupied by students protesting about tuition fees.

The School of Oriental and African Studies is likely to remain closed throughout Thursday.

A statement from the students said: "The occupation is at present legal and will remain so until Friday when the court eviction order that the university management has applied for is due to arrive.

"Until this point it is legal for students to enter and occupy the building.

"The student body is currently in negotiations and has offered to do whatever is necessary to have the college and library reopened, aside of ending the occupation without acceptance of our demands so that others can return to their studies as soon as possible."

The protesters want the school not to collect tuition fees, not to expel anyone unable to pay their fees, and to lobby the government to end compulsory fees.

The occupation is the latest in an intermittent series of similar, short-lived protests by students in England over the issue of tuition fees.

The education secretary this week raised the family income threshold at which fees have to be paid, and increased the level of hardship funding.

This followed the cutting by the Scottish Executive of up-front fees for Scottish students at Scottish universities - replaced by a 2,000 contribution once a graduate's salary reaches 10,000.

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