A screengrab of a video showing police throwing a UNSW student to the ground. Picture: Honi Soit
A screengrab of a video showing police throwing a UNSW student to the ground. Picture: Honi Soit

Student thrown by police at protest

Videos posted to social media have shown police at the University of Sydney pushing a professor who specialises in protest law and throwing a young woman to the ground amid growing calls to decrease the police presence on the campus.

University of Sydney law professor Simon Rice was observing a student protest against cuts to universities as part of research into laws governing protests when he was dragged away by police, thrown to the ground and subsequently fined.

"I have a bunch of students who are working on reforming protest laws," Prof Rice told the Guardian.

"I told them there is a protest today and you may want to watch. I also chose to watch."

A video of the incident was posted to a Twitter account of the university's student newspaper Honi Soit.

WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

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Mr Rice said the video didn't capture an earlier incident where police kicked his legs out from under him, only the part where they push him to the ground as he tries to stand back up.

He said he wasn't seriously injured.

"It was violent without causing any particular harm. Disproportionate force, completely unjustified," he told the Guardian.

In another video, an armed policeman is shown throwing a woman to the ground, shortly before being labelled a "coward" by another student.

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A screengrab of a video showing police throwing a UNSW student to the ground. Picture: Honi Soit
A screengrab of a video showing police throwing a UNSW student to the ground. Picture: Honi Soit

A familiar chant of "too many coppers, not enough justice" then breaks out as a black SUV belonging to NSW Riot Police enters the frame.

The woman, UNSW student Shovan Bhattarai, told the Guardian she suffered grazes and bruising, but wasn't fined.

"This is the violent response NSW police dish out to staff and students taking a stand against education cuts. Me and thousands of other students around the country will not be intimidated by these attacks," she said.

The protests were in reaction to the government's university cuts that recently passed the Senate with the backing of Centre Alliance after the bill gave preferential treatment to universities in South Australia, a state which Centre Alliance proudly proclaims on their website "always comes first".

Honi Soit reported police officers stated they were there at the invitation of the University, though a University spokesman told the paper that wasn't the case.

Elsewhere on the campus, the National Tertiary Education Union held a "teach out" in an outdoor area, approved by the University's lawyers, which a NSW police officer admits to using a poor choice of words in describing as a protest in a video posted to YouTube.

"I'm doing my normal job here at the University," NTEU branch committee member Nick Reimer tells a police officer in the video, "and I don't intend to be intimidated by the police doing it".

NSW Police were contacted for comment and eventually responded to say someone would be in touch.

Originally published as Student thrown by police at protest

Law professor Simon Rice said he was trying to stand up after police
Law professor Simon Rice said he was trying to stand up after police "kicked his legs out from under him" when four cops pushed him back to the ground. Picture: Honi Soit

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