Student rebellion goes on after defeat by MPs

 

Student protestors tonight attacked the British Treasury building in London, chanting: "Give us our money back." 
The-Latest saw them angrily hurl missiles at riot police who repeated baton charged the demonstrators, causing injuries. I saw a tall young Black man, blood pouring from a head wound, being led away by a police paramedic. The London Ambulance Service says 19 people have been treated for injuries - six have been taken to hospital. 
Eight officers were said to have been hurt in the clashes that came after 7pm. Protestors protesters who were smashing windows and trying to break into a side door of the Treasury using part of a police metal barricade. A couple of security guards inside were reinforced by helmet-wearing police. Although a door was prised open, the demonstrators thought the better of storming inside. 
They also smashed windows at the Supreme Court, after MPs voted, by a majority of 21, to increase students fees by up to £9,000. Labour MP Virendra Sharma told The-Latest he was surprised because he thought the margin would be just 10. Veteran Gerald Kaufman MP, a former minister, said: "The Lib Dems are finished. They got loads of votes from students at the last election and they won't get that support again. I'm not surprised by the Conservatives."
A vicar outside Westminster Cathedral praised the student protest. "They won't go away. I'm proud of them. They may have seen their supporters lose the vote in the House of Commons, but I think they will win in the House of Lords because peers (members of the House of Lords) are more sensible."
Of 57 Liberal Democrats - their party is in a coalition government with the Conservatives - 21 of stuck with the party's general election pledge to vote against the change. Students vented their anger at the mass protest in London most against the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who they used a variety of swear words to describe. Since May, when he wowed the public with a barvura performance in TV debates with Tory leader David Cameron and Labour's Gordon Brown sparking what the media described as Cleggomania, the Lib Dem leader has gone from idol to public hate figure.
A candle lit vigil was held on the Victoria Embankment during the four-hour parliamentary debate. The National Union of Students and University and College Union held a mass lobby of MPs at the House of Commons, while thousands of supporters of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) marched to Westminster from the University of London Union two miles away.
NCAFC leaders, determined that protesters should not be kettled like they were on the November 10 demonstration, played cat and mouse with the police over the exact route of the march.
Protesters shouted slogans like "No ifs, no buts. No education cuts." In front of riot police, stood in front of them two officers deep, they chanted "Our streets, not your streets." And "The people united can never be defeated."
A handful of young militants even called out "Revolution". Graffiti on public building around Whitehall, the heart of the British government, had slogans including "First Greece Then Paris Now London Insurrection".

Marc Wadsworth

Student protesters last night attacked the British Treasury building in London, chanting: "Give us our money back." 

The-Latest saw them angrily hurl missiles at riot police who repeatedly baton charged the demonstrators, including on horseback, causing injuries. I saw a tall young Black man, blood pouring from a head wound, being led away by a police paramedic. The London Ambulance Service said more than 50 people were treated for injuries - a dozen taken to hospital.

A student suffered bleeding to the brain when he was struck by a police truncheon during the tuition fees protest, his mother has alleged. Alfie Meadows, 20, of Middlesex University, was hit on the head as he tried to leave the area of Westminster Abbey, his mother Susan Matthews said.

Meadows underwent a three-hour operation and is now recovering in hospital.

The Prime Minister described the violence and vandalism during Thursday's protests as "completely unacceptable" and said those involved would "feel the full force of the law".

David Cameron said that lessons had to be learned over the "very regrettable" attack on a car carrying the Prince of Wales and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

Cameron said there were a significant number of people wanting to pursue violence in the capital.

Twelve officers were said to have been hurt in the clashes that came after 7pm. The explosive situation was made worse by the refusal of police to allow a thousand or more protesters they surrounded in Parliament Square to leave - using the controversial kettling tactic. They used riot police with batons and shields and vans to block exits. Public safety was given as the excuse.

A statement from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) said: "The police attacked protesters, journalists and even a demonstrator in a wheelchair, dragging him across the ground."

It added: "Many people were hospitalised and at the time of writing (23.30) many people were still contained in Westminster, a cruel form of punishment for defying the government."

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, questioned police tactics.He told the BBC: "We've got 'kettling' that is supposed to confine people in an area to stop violence spilling out to other areas, and clearly it has not worked. Therefore, the planning and control and the senior management decisions by the Metropolitan Police over this whole incident need to be looked at."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson claimed that his officers had shown "commendable restraint".

Protesters smashed windows and tried to break into a side door of the Treasury using part of a metal police barricade they had snatched from officers. A couple of security guards inside were reinforced by helmet-wearing police. Although an oak door was prised open, the demonstrators thought the better of storming inside as they had Conservative Party headquarters on November 10. 

They also smashed windows at the Supreme Court, after MPs voted, by a majority of 21, to treble students fees by up to £9,000. Labour MP Virendra Sharma told The-Latest he was surprised because he thought the margin would be just 10.

Veteran Gerald Kaufman MP, a former minister, said: "The Lib Dems are finished. They got loads of votes from students at the last election and they won't get that support again. I'm not surprised by the Conservatives."

A vicar outside Westminster Abbey praised the student protest. "They won't go away. I'm proud of them. They may have seen their supporters lose the vote in the House of Commons, but I think they will win in the House of Lords because peers (members of the House of Lords) are more sensible," he said.

Of the 57 Liberal Democrat MPs - the party is in a coalition government with the Conservatives - 21 of them stuck with the party's general election pledge to vote against the change. Six Conservative MP also rebelled.

Students vented their anger at the mass protest in London, mostly against the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who they used a variety of swear words to describe. Since May, when he wowed the public with a bravura performance in TV debates with Tory leader David Cameron and Labour's Gordon Brown sparking what the media described as Cleggmania, the Lib Dem leader has gone from political idol to public hate figure.

 

A candle lit vigil was held on the Victoria Embankment during the four-hour parliamentary debate. The National Union of Students and University and College Union held a mass lobby of MPs at the House of Commons, while thousands of supporters of the NCAFC marched to Westminster from the University of London Union two miles away.

NCAFC leaders, determined that protesters should not be kettled like they were on the November 10 demonstration, played cat and mouse with the police over the exact route of the march.

Zita Holbourne, who represented the civil servants union PCS, complained: "I was speaking at the rally amongst MPs and trade union leaders on a bus set up as a stage. I was annoyed that the police prevented the bulk of students attending by blocking their route." 

Protesters shouted slogans like "No ifs, no buts. No education cuts." Standing in front of riot police two officers deep, they chanted: "Our streets, not your streets." And: "The people united can never be defeated."

A handful of young militants, some with posh middle-class accents, even yelled out: "Revolution". Graffiti on public building around Whitehall, the heart of the British government, had slogans including "First Greece Then Paris Now London Insurrection".

Student leaders have vowed that the resistance to the university fees increase will continue in the New Year.

* Here is an alternative look at comment on the web about the student fees protests outside Parliament which were marked by the huge numbers of young people who took to the streets, their attacks on the edifices of political power and commerce as well as angry head-on battles with the police.


On the Coalition of Resistance Against Cuts website, Robert said (December 10): "More protests the better and equally the mobilisation of the masses away from 'popular culture' TV and football".

Freedom Press (anarchist news and views) carried a picture exclusive titled Royals caught in student protest and wrote:

Heirs to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and two of the biggest benefit scroungers in the country meet their subjects

"An angry mob of some 300 protestors avoided being kettled and beaten by out-of-control riot police in Parliament Square made their anger felt at MPs voting in favour of raising tuition fees and took a tour of the West End smashing the windows of  Top Shop, whose owner Philip Green owes billions in unpaid tax, before eventually bumping into the two Royal scroungers on a night out to the theatre. The car was attacked with paint and the crowd were heard to chant ‘off with their heads’ as they chased the car down Regents Street in through central London."

Writing on Libcom, the libertarian communism website, Auto, said: "What's happened to the Twitter feeds? The updates now seem to consist entirely of re-tweeting jokes about Nick Clegg. Where have all the on-the-ground updates gone?"

Displeased with the reporting by broadcasters BBC and Sky, Jenre, wrote: "Yeah I heard the man from Sky...he also called people 'idiots' who smashed windows at the Supreme Court. God, BBC news and Sky are really messing with my blood pressure." Jenre continued: "Spokesperson at Scotland Yard claims protesters using 'acts of terror'...shocking language."

"BBC reporter (Browne?) blaming anarchists for violence. Name-checking the Wombles and Whitechapel anarchist group."

The website Permanent Revolution appeared to publish a teacher's account of happenings at the protest. The NUT protester said: "What the government did last night tells us they are intent on wrecking the lives of a generation. They have declared class war on our children. They must be brought down by any means necessary," harking back to what US Black leader Malcolm X famously said.

 

 

 

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