Socialist Worker

Anger on the streets of London as 10,000 students demonstrate

4:30pm update: Siân Ruddick reports from the national student protest in central London which has now reached its Moorgate destination

Issue No. 2277

Students marching in London today  (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Students marching in London today (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The demonstration has now swollen to around 10,000 strong. It is noisy and militant, with delegations of students from across Britain, including Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, Oxford and Brighton.

Anti-Tory hatred runs through the protest. The marchers are chanting against the government on issues ranging from tuition fees through to pensions and the NHS.

There is a huge sense of unity. Many passers-by have cheered the protest, including construction workers building a luxury apartment block on Strand.

Workers hung a 'London Met: not for sale' banner from their office window at the demonstration's finishing point on Moorgate. The reference was to London Metropolitan university, which faces possible privatisation (see below).

At several points police tried to block the march and snatch people from the crowd. Students made a valiant effort to meet up with protesting electricians who had been kettled—but the police blocked their path.

It's now a year on from the Millbank occupation but the determination of students to fight shows no signs of fading. And more radical ideas are now taking root.

As one student I spoke to put it, 'Last year I knew that I was against the attacks on education. Now I'm thinking about what the different society we want would look like—not just what we're against, but what we're for.'

London Met activists look to 30 November

UCU activist Mark Campbell works as a lecturer at London Met. He addressed protesters through a megaphone on behalf of the union at the end of the student march.

'We fully support this demonstration—we know we're fighting the same fight,' he said. 'We've made a great start over the past year. Now we have to strike and bring this government down.

'Let's build for 30 November when three million will be out on strike. We are the 99 percent and we will not be divided.'

London Met students were also at the demo. 'They've already closed 70 percent of undergraduate courses at my university,” Ellie May, a history student, told Socialist Worker. 'We could be the first university to be privatised, and we're doing everything we can to fight that.

'The police are trying to intimidate us out of exercising our right to protest, but it doesn't scare me. They're just shitting it because they know it all leads to 30 November.'

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