Irate Manchester students tear down fences put up by university to stop them mixing in lockdown

This was the staggering scene in Manchester last night as irate students tore down fences at the University of Manchester.

Students were livid in Fallowfield, a university-heavy suburb of the North West city, as fences were erected on campus.

Students tore them down in protest, after the uni erected them as a “security measure” to “help avoid the mixing of households”.

The measure came as the country headed into a second lockdown with non-essential retailers shut, as well as pubs.

Households are also banned from mixing under the new rules – and Joe Hindley, a 19-year-old first-year maths student, told the PA news agency: “We’ve just been really frustrated. It feels like a kick in the balls.

“There’s no benefit we can see to them being up.

“They’ve said something about it increasing our safety but from what we can see it’s a complete waste of money.”

Ben McGowan, a first year politics and sociology student, said: “I think there was a boiling point when they put up those fences,” he told PA.

“It was a final breaking point for most students.”

(Image: PA)

Mr McGowan said he was unimpressed with the apology and that it was “way too late”.

He added: “It showed just how badly thought through it was.”

(Image: PA)

In an email received by students shortly before 8.30pm on Thursday, the university’s president and vice-chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell apologised for causing “concern and distress” by putting up the fences.

“This was not our intention – in fact quite the reverse,” she said.

“The fencing was intended as a response to a number of concerns received over recent weeks from staff and students about safety and security; particularly about access by people who are not residents.

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(Image: PA)

“There was never any intent to prevent you or other residents of our halls from entering or exiting the site.”

She added that the fences would be removed on Friday, and alternative measures “including additional security patrols” would be brought in instead.