The ‘Free Education’ protest in London, which thousands of students from across the country attended, took a violent turn after scuffles with the police resulted in 11 arrests.
The demonstration was organised to show discontent against the trebling of tuition fees that came into force in 2012 and education cuts in general, and saw students clash with police while trying to gain access to Parliament Square.
Protesters wearing masks tried to climb over police and fences after being told to “standback”bypolice officers,causingthe barriers to fall down.
Missiles as well as paint and stink bombs were thrown at a local Starbucks and several protestors broke off from the main group in an attempt to protest outside of the Conservative Party headquarters. Two of these protestors were detained.
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has said: “We recognise the right of all students to free speech. However, the world renowned calibre of the UK’s higher education system would not be sustainable if tuition fees were removed”.
He then went on to say: “our reforms were necessary to further strengthen the quality of our system, and this summer the OECD described the UK as one of the few countries that has developed a sustainable funding system for its universities”.
Although the demonstration was not endorsed by the National Union of Students due to “an unacceptable level of risk”, it has been publicly supported by the Sussex Students’ Union, who organised coaches to take roughly 400 students o the protest.
Rianna said in a statement on Face- book: “I have been so inspired by the thousands of students who came to London today to demand free education and no cuts.
“Education is a human right, an investment in society, and is not something that should benefit only the privileged few.
“If every single student who attended today… votes in May, we truly have the power to f*ck sh*t up and change this bullsh*t neoliberal government agenda.
Alex Ferguson & Daniel Green