Violence mars student fees protest

News

Student anger towards the coalition government turned to violence yesterday at the National Union of Students demonstration in London where, according to NUS estimates, about 50,000 people gathered to protest the proposed cuts to higher education.

Chanting “Tory scum” and “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts,” protestors stormed the Conservative party headquarters at Millbank before lighting a bonfire of placards outside. A few entered the building by the main doors before being sealed inside by police.

Incensed protestors still outside the headquarters charged the building, breaking several large windows and displaying banners from the roof that read, “Say no to cuts” and “Defend education”.

“[The crowd] ran up to the building, tearing blinds down and breaking windows,” said Will Brenchely, a Cardiff University student.

Riot police and two police helicopters were dispatched to the scene. Rooftop protestors threw fire extinguishers and other objects from the roof and smashed windows in the upper floors.

Eight people, including both police and protesters, were taken to London hospitals, suffering minor injuries.
Police later entered the building and made arrests as they removed protesters from the premises.

“Sadly on the day a small minority of protestors have taken it upon themselves to cause damage to property, whilst the vast majority have peacefully made their point,” said the Metropolitan Police in an online statement.

Student activists had gathered to protest the coalition government’s recently-announced plans to treble university tuition fees from 2012.