Socialist Worker

Students march through London against cuts to higher education

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2294

Students staging a sit-down protest in Whitehall  (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Students staging a sit-down protest in Whitehall (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Some 700 students marched through central London yesterday (Wednesday) to protest against government attacks on higher education.

In the blazing sunshine students chanted ,'no ifs, no buts, no education cuts'. The protest was part of a national student walkout called by the National Union of Students (NUS).

The march, organised by Education Activist Network and others, started at the University of London Union. It marched to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which is in charge of universities.

The NUS Black students campaign, students from Oxford and school students joined the march.

Marco from University College London told Socialist Worker, 'The system has stopped making sense for the majority of people. Students are an important part of the movement against the government, but against capitalism too.

'We have to show support for our lecturers and other workers that go on strike. Even if lecturers at some universities aren't striking, we have to hold actions on campus and make our voices heard.'

Construction workers, bus drivers and even some young pupils on a school trip waved and showed their support.

Zoe, a student from the Courtauld Institute art college had helped make a banner in solidarity with Alfie Meadows, the student protester who almost died after being hit on the head with a police baton.

Now Alfie faces charges of violent disorder on 26 March. Zoe told Socialist Worker, 'It's such an injustice that Alfie is on trial but there have been no prosecutions of police. It should be the other way round.'

On the way down Whitehall the protesters held a sit-down protest near Downing Street. Hannah Dee from the Defend the Right to Protest campaign addressed the sit-down to tell people about Alfie's case and those of other arrested students.

'We have to stand in solidarity with all victims of police violence,' she said. 'There has not been one successful prosecution of police responsible for deaths in custody.'

This was met with cries of 'shame on you' directed at police from the crowd. Students then continued down Whitehall.

The protest was aimed at David Willets, the hated Tory universities minister. As the protest neared his offices, chants of 'Willets, Willets, Willets—out, out, out' rang though the crowd.

The minister refused to come out and address the protest, despite many requests from the marchers.

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