PETA have today launched a social media campaign calling for the immediate release of students detained in the 256 smokers’ cage.
What began following the Christmas period as a grassroots student-led protest has become a nationwide movement, with a petition demanding an end to the injustice garnering over 4,000 signatures.
The end of the January exam period signalled a rapid increase in both the number of people trapped in the cramped cage and the indignation of local campaigners. The Fallowfield-central protest soon gained momentum, coming to the attention of the ever-outraged People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who took to spearheading the campaign.
Passers-by on Wilmslow Road have full view of the “unofficial urban jail”, where protesters have been gathering for some weeks. Indifferent security staff have blockaded the front doors, a key supply route for emergency aid, insisting that demonstrators “Go get some chips and come back in half an hour.” Manchester City Council have thus far failed to respond to the demonstrations occurring almost every day in multiple wards across the city.
The Whip reporters spoke to some freedom-fighting undergraduates who were smuggling in emergency provisions of blankets, hot soup and rizla.
“It breaks my heart to see them huddled there only wearing crop tops – how cruel,” one compassionate third year told us, fighting off the tears. “Just because some of them are on the rugby team it doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated like that.”
A spokesman for PETA informed The Whip of the charity’s plans to occupy Albert Square and Piccadilly Gardens in the coming weeks.