A security guard has been filmed apparently pushing a student protester to the ground and putting a hand round their throat outside a university building in Scotland.
The alleged incident happened outside an Edinburgh University building which a group of students from the People & Planet group has occupied for the past eight days in protest at the institution’s rejection of calls to pull its investments from fossil fuels.
Today, some students held a picket outside the occupied premises of Charles Stewart House on the city’s Chambers Street.
Footage posted on YouTube appears to show a security ground pushing one of them to the ground and putting a hand round their throat, moving away after another guard intervenes.
Eric Lai, one of the occupiers inside, said: “We have been repeatedly told that the university supports our right to protest but that couldn’t feel further from the truth.
“The university have posted dozens of guards to the doors and have now taken to intimidation and violence to shut us up. It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate way to handle student protest.
“The university need to immediately change their approach, allowing open access to the building and engaging with the politics of why we’re here, rather than just covering their ears to both the demands of students and staff, and the desperate urgency of tackling climate change. Until they move their money out of fossil fuels, we’re going nowhere.”
The university said it regretted the incident.
A University of Edinburgh spokesman said: “The university is aware of, and deeply regrets, the unfortunate incident that is currently being played on social media. The matter is now in the hands of the police.
“We continue to support the right of students to peacefully and lawfully demonstrate, and the university is using private security outside its buildings in Chambers Street in order to secure the safety of staff and students during the occupation.
“We are constantly reviewing our security arrangements to make sure that they are appropriate to the circumstances in what is an evolving situation.”
Edinburgh University said last week it would withdraw investments from the most polluting fuels, coal and ”tar sands”, if there were realistic alternative sources of energy available and the companies involved were not investing in technology to cut carbon emissions.
But environmental campaigners have criticised the institution for missing a ”clear opportunity” to take a moral lead on tackling climate change.