Around 1,500 students, trade unionists and others joined a protest march over education cuts in Oxford yesterday (Thursday).
The planned march around the town was sparked by a planned talk at Oxford university by business secretary Vince Cable.
But Cable cancelled on the eve of his talk after a Facebook page set up to publicise the protest got a very strong response.
Despite Cable’s cowardly retreat, activists, trade unionists and members of the public joined the large group of students who decided to march anyway.
Their anger boiled over onto the streets—at the Browne review, which proposes lifting the cap on university fees, and the Tory-Liberal coalition’s education cuts.
Chants of “Vince Cable, shame on you, shame on you for turning blue” reverberated around the town.
The police tried to split the large group and stem the march.
But they were no match for the strength of feeling they met—some protesters linked arms across the busy High Street, blocking the traffic.
The protest continued through the busy city centre, growing in numbers as it went—and growing in anger.
The demonstrators decided to express their feelings by marching to the examination halls, the site of Cable’s cancelled visit.
They chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and traffic once again had to give way. Yet still many cars, buses and taxis were honking and waving in support.
There were then short but passionate speeches from activists who were furious at the savagery of the coalition attack on education.
All of the speakers signed off with the promise that this impressive demo was only the start of things to come.