30 Nov 2010

Student fees: more demonstrations across UK

Thousands of students have taken to the streets again to protest against tuition fees. There have been scuffles between police and demonstrators and a handful of arrests.

Thousands of students turned out, despite snow sweeping the UK, to protest against the planned rise in tuition fees.

Demonstrations have been held in London, Cardiff, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

Scuffles broke out between police and protesters at some locations but there has not been trouble on the same scale as the previous student demonstrations.

London demonstration

Five people were arrested during the protests in London.

The Met police said the event started at an earlier time than agreed which meant that the march began without a police escort.

In a statement they said the escort was essential because of gas works taking place: “As a result, a line of police officers formed a cordon across Whitehall.

“This line of police officers intended to steer the march to one side of the road and the agreed route. There was never any intention to contain the protesters.

“The march then broke into small groups, travelling in different directions.”

Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent, Andy Davies, said there were 200 protesters left in Trafalgar Square by seven o’clock tonight, but they were being gradually duspersed by police, who had made just seven arrests.

One student in Leeds told Channel 4 News police were

Protests across the country

At Queen’s University, Belfast, around 25 students staged a peaceful sit-in protest outside the office of the vice chancellor Peter Gregson.

He was away but pro vice chancellor and professor of education, Tony Gallagher, spoke to them and promised to convey their fees concerns.

There was chanting during the three-hour demonstration.

We do feel like we got our message across. People are angry. Ledys Sanjuan, Student

Around 300 students marched through the streets of Edinburgh.

The demonstrators gathered at Bristo Square before heading down the Royal Mile to a rally outside the Scottish Parliament.

They chanted slogans and held banners saying: “Education For All” and “No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts”.

International relations student Ledys Sanjuan, 21, of Edinburgh University, said: “We will not stand for cuts in education. We will also not accept any rises in tuition fees in England or Scotland.

“We do feel like we got our message across. People are angry.”

One student in Leeds told Channel 4 News police were “cracking down” on protesters: “They threw a punch at, and arrested, one man and have been trying to kettle with huge numbers of police as well as dog units.”

A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council confirmed around 50 protesters had entered its main chamber but it was a peaceful demonstration.

In Sheffield hundreds of students gathered outside Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s office.