Around 60 protestors campaigning for a Trinity College Dublin to not introduce fees of €450 for resit exams have been locked inside Trinity's main dining hall.
The college has brought in an external security firm to enforce the blockade around the Dining Hall. They are blocking the main hall doors which leaves the students still inside with no access to food or water and they are preventing other students from entering the building. They are however allowing any students locked inside who would like to leave to do so.
EDIT: They were originally blocked from accessing bathrooms in the building but have since negotiated access.
To ensure that no students try and sneak out and return without their knowledge they have apparently rigged alarm systems to the doors in and out of the Dining Hall.
UPDATE ON TCD PROTESTS: Students have been locked into the dining hall, no one is allowed in. Access to toilets, food, and water has been cut off. Please share, this is outrageous.
— Jack Leahy (@Jack_Leahy) March 14, 2018
This is getting insane . Protestors locked into dining hall for protest over extortionate new fees policy. Solidarity with all. @thejournal_ie @rtenews @tcdsu #TakeBackTrinity pic.twitter.com/pnz7wBVE2T
— Craig McHugh (@craigmchug) March 14, 2018
Tried accessing the Dining Hall to support the #TakeBackTrinity activists, but was blocked by several security men who have closed the building. Two lads who had popped out couldn't even get to their belongings. Being told students in there can't access food, water or bathrooms.
— Alex (@alexbtra) March 14, 2018
— Christina (@XtinaHammy) March 14, 2018
Current TCDSU President Kevin Keane spoke The University Times from inside the building and he called the situation “unacceptable”. Journalists from The University Times were denied entry to the building. The campaigners have been receiving support from previous TCD President and Senator Lynne Ruanne who visited the protestors in the dining hall today.
I wrote to Provost & @tcddublin board last week expressing deep concerns & opposition to €450 supplemental exam fee. Students can't be used to balance budgets & most vulnerable students must be protected. Solidarity with @tcdsu & all demonstrating students. #TakeBackTrinity pic.twitter.com/WaAmnVce89
— Lynn Ruane (@SenLynnRuane) March 14, 2018
As the students are saying...
— TCD Students' Union (@tcdsu) March 13, 2018
Trinity’s Press Officer, Caoimhe Ní Lochlainn, said in a statement to The University Times: “The students are not locked into the Dining Hall. They can leave at any time they want, and the College is taking all steps to ensure that the students inside are safe. However, we are not letting anyone else into the building, as there were concerns that large numbers of non-students had been invited into the building through an open call, and this would result in unacceptable risks for all concerned.”
Thanks to The University Times for their excellent reporting of the situation.