British students’ mass anti-Tory demonstration

This video, recorded in London, England, says about itself:

Britain’s seeing its biggest protest yet against the deep cuts the country faces to tackle its massive debts. Tens of thousands of students are protesting against a planned hike in tuition fees which could see them treble to 9-thousand pounds a year. Violence flared briefly during the overwhelmingly peaceful protest as a handful of people smashed windows in a high-rise building that houses the headquarters of the Conservative Party, part of the governing coalition. Britain’s Liberal Democrats, who are part of the coalition, pledged during the country’s election campaign to abolish fees.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Students shake the halls of power

Wednesday 10 November 2010

by John Millington, Campaigns Reporter

Over 50,000 workers and students shook the Westminster halls of power today with a march against the raising of tuition fees.

Anger at the Con-Dem cuts and fee rises spilled over just hours after the march with 300 protesters occupying Tory HQ at Millbank.

Windows were smashed and small fires started inside with nine protesters and two police officers reportedly injured.

Riot police were so overwhelmed by the 2,000-strong protest outside Millbank that as the Star went to press the building remained occupied and they had abandoned plans to retake it.

Protesters from inside Tory HQ released a statement saying: “We oppose the cuts and stand in solidarity with public-sector workers.

“We call for direct action to oppose the cuts. This is just the beginning of the resistance.”

But many students distanced themselves from the violence, which they said was committed by “anarchists who weren’t even students.”

They said they would have supported the Millbank occupation if it had been done peacefully.

The demo was twice as big as expected by organisers. The vast majority of peaceful protesters rallied under the banners of “Fund Our Future” and “Unity is Strength.”

They were flanked by stewards from lecturers’ union UCU and the National Union of Students as they marched through central London and past the Houses of Parliament.

MPs inside the Commons could hear their anger loud and clear as students, lecturers and their families joined the chorus of chants against the government’s education plans.

The increase in fees to £9,000 on top of inflation and the VAT rise will see the cost of a university education soar by an astonishing 311 per cent.

UCU leader Sally Hunt told protesters: “I am here today to send a message to the politicians at Westminster.

“It isn’t fair to make our public universities the most expensive in the world. It isn’t progressive to discourage young people from going to college.

“And it isn’t just to ask the next generation to pay for others’ mistakes. Over the next four years while college grants are cut and tuition fees triple, big business will get £8 billion in tax giveaways from the government,” Ms Hunt said.

Labour MP John McDonnell, one of only a handful of politicians on the march, praised the unity shown on the demo.

“This is the biggest workers’ and students’ demonstration in decades. It just shows what can be done when people get angry. We must build on this,” he said.

Much of marchers’ anger was directed at the Lib Dems for their U-turn on tuition fees.

Soas student Joana Pinto told the Morning Star that the Lib Dems had “betrayed students’ faith by siding with the government despite pre-election promises not to increase tuition fees.”

Cambridge University Students Union president Thomas Chigbo said he felt “particular anger at Lib Dems for their betrayal” and warned they could suffer the consequences at the ballot box.

Young Communist League general secretary George Waterhouse, who led a large contingent on the march, said: “We believe that education is a right not a commodity.

“Government plans would return us to the days when education was a preserve of the rich. It is clear the cuts are being implemented in line with EU diktats.”

See also here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

Update 15 November: here.

Update 20 November 2010: here.

USA: California State University voted to increase tuition by 15.5 percent Wednesday, while the University of California system is preparing to increase fees by 8 percent: here.

5 thoughts on “British students’ mass anti-Tory demonstration

  1. Judicial review into SMLC cuts

    TORY CUTS:The South Manchester Law Centre (SMLC) has been granted permission to launch a judicial review into the government’s plans to cut its funding.

    High Court Judge Keith, sitting in Manchester, ruled in favour of the law centre on Monday against the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

    The commission plans to slash a total of £350 million from the legal aid budget in line with government diktat.

    Monday’s ruling throws into doubt the LSC’s entire national immigration and asylum legal aid contract.



    We need unity to break the Con-Dems’ attacks

    Stand with the protesters against victimisation

    November 11, 2010

    Wednesday’s national NUS/UCU 50,000 strong national demonstration was a magnificent show of strength against the Con Dems’ savage attacks on education. The Tories want to make swingeing cuts, introduce £9,000 tuition fees and cut EMA. These attacks will close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

    During the demonstration over 5,000 students showed their determination to defend the future of education by occupying the Tory party HQ and its courtyards for several hours. The mood was good-spirited, with chants, singing and flares.

    Yet at least 32 people have now been arrested, and the police and media appear to be launching a witch-hunt condemning peaceful protesters as “criminals” and violent.

    A great deal is being made of a few windows smashed during the protest, but the real vandals are those waging a war on our education system.

    We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement.

    We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended. It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration to many workers and students in Britain faced with such a huge assault on jobs, benefits, housing and the public sector.

    We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.


    As of 12 noon on Friday 12th November there have been over 3000 signatories including those by email and facebook. A selected list is available here: We are trying to get all the names up as quickly as possibly but in the mean time you can sign the e-petition – if you have a trade union position or represent an organisation put your position in the comment box.

    Join our facebook page


  3. Pingback: British anti-Afghan war movement, 20 November | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: British Tories attack dead soldier’s mother | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: British students protest against Tory cuts | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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