Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2229

Day X live coverage of student protests across Britain

This article is over 11 years, 1 months old
Socialist Worker will be bringing you rolling coverage of today's student protests across Britain over education cuts and fees. Send your pics and reports to [email protected]
Issue 2229
Police van in Whitehall
Police van in Whitehall


The occupation at Leeds University is growing. A local cafe is donating 100 portions of rice and dahl for the students.


Students at Edinburgh University have gone into occupation.


Police have cleared protesters from Westminster bridge. Ryan Ahmed, a student from Newvic college in Newham, was one of those demonstrating.

He told Socialist Worker, ‘There were three bus drivers in buses behind us who all gave us their support.

‘It was mostly students there but also some workers. I came because I’m in my last year of college and I want to go to university. If they raise the fees I won’t be able to—because I’m not prepared to get into thousands of pounds’ worth of debt.

‘The government is making cuts to help people who are higher up in the system. They are targeting the poor.’


Workers and students are bringing food to occupying students at Leeds University, who are staying in overnight.


Mounted police are repeatedly charging protesters in Whitehall. They forced students to retreat towards Trafalgar Square—who were then confronted by nine police vans and more riot police.

Meanwhile more protesters are blocking Westminster bridge in solidarity with the students.


Students from universities, FE colleges and schools are still either protesting or kettled by the police in Whitehall.

Helen, 14, came to the protest in Whitehall from a school in West London, in uniform with her friends. She told Socialist Worker, “About half of the school walked out today at lunchtime. The teachers didn’t try to stop us, but we’re worried that tomorrow we’ll get done for skiving. We’re here to save education. It’s hardly like we’re having a day off.’

Her friend, who is 15 was arrested. Helen added, “They’re arresting people for doing absolutely nothing. If we hurt the police we would go to prison, but I’ve seen them hitting and lashing out and it’s us that get arrested. Its not fair.’

Daniel came from and FE college in south London. He said, “When I got in to college today community support officers were outside. They tried to stop us assembling for the protest. But they failed and we came here to peacefully protest.

‘But everywhere I look there are police. I don’t understand why they’re wearing helmets and hitting people when we’re here to stop the government not just from wrecking our lives, but for the lives of our younger brothers and sisters. In south London kids from our school get stopped and searched all the time. It’s like they’ve got it in for us.”

While some protesters are still kettled in Whitehall others are now blockading Westminster bridge.


An 800 strong student march has ended in the occupation of one of Oxford’s most famous buildings. The picture postcard view of the dreaming spires was shattered at about 1pm, when a 20ft Free education’ and ‘Fight the cuts’ banners were hung from the top windows of the Radcliffe Camera, the round building made famous in countless TV shows and films.

Passing marchers vaulted the ornate fence and rush into the building, leaving a large police contingent and university staff to watch helplessly.

Around 300 protesters entered the historic monument to chants of ‘education is a right, let’s kick ’em out and fight, fight, fight’.

A sound system was also taken inside and after an initial victory dance the occupiers debated the terms of the occupation.

Immediate proposals were to demand the university declares its complete opposition to rises in education fees and any and all cuts to the public sector. Also agreed was solidarity with anyone arrested in the Millbank withhunt.

The protesters included school students, FE students, HE students, lecturers, trade unionists and also members of the public who had joined the noisy march earlier.

Several attempts at entry by the police have already been beaten, and despite the presence of riot vans and police horses outside free food is being distributed and a quiet area is available for those who were studying in the building when the occupation started.

The already exuberant mood was raised again by messages of solidarity by the local CYWU, Unison and Unite branches. Report by Jamie Pitman


Three students, part of the thousands still kettled in Whitehall, London, spoke to Socialist Worker about why they were on the protest.

Casey, a school student in North London said, “If they get rid of the Education Maintenance Allowance I won’t be able to go to college. I don’t think it’s wrong to smash up a few things when voting doesn’t work what are we supposed to do?’

James took part in the walkout from B6 college in Hackney. He told Socialist Worker, “You can only push people so far. What do you expect? You can’t take away people’s education and expect them to sit quietly’.

Barnaby told Socialist Worker, “It’s great that students are here to show that these are our streets not just the property of a few millionaires. This is an inspiring show of strength that we can make a difference if we come together and stand up.’


Over a hundreds students have been marching in Truro, Cornwall’s only city, today in solidarity with thousands of protesters across the country fighting against the rise in tuition fees.

Protesters marched the two miles to the County Hall In the pouring rain chanting “Lib Dems out” and “they say cut back, we say fight back’.

Students blocked off the main road into the city, and proceeded to march to the Conservative office in opposition to the savage education cuts. Local Unison officer Stuart Roden spoke about “student and workers uniting’, and Josiah Mortimer, a local student, said “we are all in this together, and will fight the rise in fees until the Lib Dems keep their promise and vote against these unjust proposals’.


Bournemouth: 600 marched in Bournemouth—the majority were 6th formers who led the march through barriers and police lines at the town hall. The protest went off route and blocked the high street with a sit down.

The UCU union branch chair addressed the student protest sit-in and called the protesters “heroes” before the march stormed through the town centre, ending by surrounding the town hall with hundreds singing we shall not be moved.


Mounted police have charged the kettled crowd in Whitehall—but had to pull back because students outside the kettle challenged police to stop the attack.


Bristol. Around 300 students briefly occupied Bristol City college but were forced out after security guards hit the fire alarms causing the building to be evacuated.


Sheffield. Over 100 students are in occupation of lecture theatres five and six at Sheffield University. The occupation happened after a rally of around 3,000 outside Sheffield town hall. School, college and university students joined the protest.

A student from High Storrs School in Sheffield told Socialist Worker. “Around 300 of us managed to walk out today. Around 500 of us walked out of classes to the front of the school. Teachers tried to blockade the exit and stop of from leaving but around 300 of us broke through before they closed the gap. We marched to the town hall to join the university students.’

Bournemouth. some 600 students marched in Bournemouth, led by sixth form students. Students broke through police barriers at the town hall to march down the high street where they held a sit down protest.


Tory education secretary Michael Gove blames the Socialist Workers Party for student protests. We’re proud to play our part.


From Brighton. Tom Wills reports that police are pushing back student protesters as they attempt to storm the town hall.


News from Whitehall, London. Protesters have been pushed back from the MoD building and are now sitting down in the road outside Downing Street.


Students in Bristol, who were kettled by police, have broken out. Around 400 are marching on the City of Bristol college.


Hundreds of students outside of the Kettle have stormed up Whitehall, in London, towards Whitehall Gardens and are clambering over fences to get out of the police cordon.

Traffic cones have been set on fire, and two have exploded.


700 students, including school and college students, are occupying the Rupert Beckett lecture theatre at Leeds university. A delegation has gone to the vice-chancellor to demand an end to fees.


The BBC’s Dominic Casciani reports from Whitehall, London. “I spoke to one sixth former who said he wanted to be a medical student. Halfway through our conversation, he raised a scarf over his face to disguise his identity and ran with his friend to clamber on top of the abandoned police van. As he ran off he said to me, if this turns violent, you’ve got to ask who’s really responsible—we think it’s the government.”


Students in central London being hit by police are chanting “You’re going on Youtube’.


Between 11am and 12.45pm from 250 to 300 students from Gower College, Swansea gathered around the gates and on the streets with placards and banners. A large group of us marched into Gorseinon, chanting “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts!” Report from Olivia Bassett.


Around 200 students from the University of Kent at Cantebury marched from campus into the town centre, joining with around 70 Cantebury College students. The march gathered support as it progressed through the city. Around 300 people marched on and occupied the roundabout of the main arterial road into Cantebury before marching onto the Tory HQ. Students sat down in the street before charging the police.


Over 100 students from Northbrook College in Worthing, West Sussex, protested today—standing on the A259 opposite Titnore roundabout. Students got lots of support from passing motorists. Almost every student protesting signed petitions opposing ALL government cuts and in solidarity with students witchhunted from the London protests two weeks ago.

Trade unionists from UCU lecturers union and PCS civil servants came down to show solidarity, and the local paper sent reporter and photographer.


Police have just baton-charged the protesters outside of their kettle in Whitehall. Truncheons are raining down on students. Graffiti reading, “Smash the state” and “Revolution” has been painted on buildings near the Treasury.


250 students from Strathclyde university in Glasgow have occupied their college. Students from Glasgow university and Glasgow School of Art are on their way to join them.


It’s already clear that this is a day of immense revolt by young people—especially school students. Thousands are on the streets in cities and towns across Britain.

They are showing their deep anger at what is being done to education.

But they are also furious at the way their futures are being ripped up by the government to bail out the bankers. And they are not simply going to accept that society is utterly dominated by the rich and the powerful.

Workers need to follow this path of resistance.

Everyone who can should join the protests today and build the resistance tomorrow. In London get to Downing Street for a protest that is scheduled to begin at 5pm but, on a day when prior arrangements have been changed by creative activity, may begin earlier.

Later today (we hope by 8.30pm) Socialist Worker will produce a four-page special. This needs to go into as many occupations, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces as possible tomorrow morning.

Thanks to everyone who has already sent us reports and pictures, and please keep sending them.


Leeds. Nick Jones reports, “At least three hundred protesters, university further education and school students, occupied all six floors of the central lobby in the Michael Sadler building at Leeds University. They then decided to hold and open air meeting on the roof attracting about 200 students.


Mounted riot police are “protecting” parliament from school students. After thousands of students stormed into Whitehall the police aggressively kettled the protest. Some students danced in the middle of protests others chanted angrily, while others stood firm against provocation and pushing by riot cops.

One police officer outside Portcullis House opposite parliament complained as yet more riot police arrived, “Why can’t they stand and guard this and we can go have a go at the students.”

At the centre of the protest sits a smashed up police van. The graffiti on it reads “Tory scum” and “revolution”, just past that a group of students are sitting round a bonfire. Overlooking them are students dancing on a bus stop.


School student from Kingston, west London, have just agreed to march to liberate students at Surbiton high school as they are being held against their will and they have every right to be on the protest.

Chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!’, “Workers and students unite and fight” and “Cameron, Clegg and Osborne—out, out, out’.


Over 500 students have marched through Exeter city centre, reports Matthew Flanagan.


A limping school student in his uniform says police injured him while he was protesting in central London.

He told Socialist Worker, “The police have created panic. They’re not letting people out. I tried to get out and the police stopped me.

“One of them hit me over and over on my leg with a truncheon.”

Two of the boy’s friends carried him from the crowd.


Students in Bristol have broken through police lines and are now planning to occupy the university. School students are pelting riot cops with eggs.


Over 70 students from the University of East London, in Docklands, have occupied a room in the university’s East Building.


Students at Hornsey School for Girls staged a sit down protest against the education cuts in their playground this morning. The school gates were then locked and no-one was being allowed to leave. The police were also called.


Up to 400 students are occupying the lawn outside senate house at Cambridge University and are trying to storm the building.


Police are kettling students at Whitehall with around four lines of police. People are fighting with police and throwing missiles at them.


In Manchester some 3,000 protesters are laying seige to the town hall.


In Bristol, up to 5,000 students have surrounded the university’s Wills Memorial building and are being met with a heavy police presence. Protesters’ numbers have been bolstered by a school students feeder march.


There are now at least 13 student occupations taking place across Britain.

In London, students are being kettled by police. A police van has been surrounded and there are attempts to set it on fire. Some students are fighting with police as they try to get down King Charles Street near the Treasury.


Leeds. Some 5,000 students joined a mass rally in Leeds. Around 500 have gone into occupation at Leeds Metropolitan University and around 2,000 are marching to occupy Leeds University.

London. some 500 school, university and college students are occupying the roundabout at Kingston, west London.

Newcastle. Thousands of students have taken over the central square.


250 students marched in Warwick, in the Midlands. 70 have occupied the prestigious arts centre.


Some 200 students in Oxford are occupying the Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library.


Over 500 school, university and college students are marching through Kingston, west London.

Soas. students who have been in occupation since Monday have just been issued with an eviction notice. They have been given two hours to leave the building and are meeting to discuss the way forward. Send messages of support via


Several thousand marchers in Manchester have broken away from the official route to head towards the town hall.


Over 200 students are occupying the Shandon lecture theatre at Cardiff University.


One hundred students are occupying a lecture theatre at Essex University. They rallied and demanded that management speak to them—and when no-one did, they occupied.

Meanwhile, students from Colchester Royal Grammar school, Colchester Institute College and Colchester sixth form have marched to the town centre. Occupying students have invited them to join the occupation.


Some 300 students and education workers are marching in Oxford. They are now gathered outside the university with talk of an occupation.


Hannah Patel, a student at Leeds College of Art and Design, is among thousands protesting in Leeds city centre.

“We were meant to be in lessons all day but we all walked out together,” she told Socialist Worker. “Even the teachers came.

“We’re here because we want to be able to afford to go to university. And a lot of my mates rely on EMA to get to college.

“We need to make a stand—this is our future.”


Glasgow University. 700 students fought police and security to get into the vice chancellor’s office. There is now a sit down occupation outside the office.

Students attempted to occupy Strathclyde University in Glasgow and battled police. Two students have been arrested and the protest continues.

Around 200 students at the Glasgow Art School have gone into occupation.

Edinburgh. 200 students have gathered at Edinburgh university and are getting ready to march and join with other school and college students outside the Bank of Scotland. They then plan to march on the Lib Dem HQ in Scotland.

London. More than 5,000 students have taken over Whitehall, playing music, chanting and dancing. Some, furious with the police blockade stopping them from reaching parliament, are rocking a police van and have written “Fuck the police” on the side.

Students have set off flares and fireworks as they celebrate their resistance to the Tory cuts. School students from all over London have descended on the protest making it one of the youngest seen in years.

More school students have walked out today than they did in 2003 against the war in Iraq and many with support of their teachers and college lecturers.

Black, white and Asian kids stand together against the rise in fees.

Anita is from a Westminster school. She told Socialist Worker, “I came on the demo on the 10th and I thought it was amazing. When I got home my mum and dad said they were proud that young people are standing up against the government. The media tried to paint us as vandals and that we weren’t being political but they refuse to understand us just like always.’


Some 600 students have brought Bournemouth town centre to a standstill.


Students from the University of Sussex are rallying on campus before marching to town to join school and college students.

School students have walked out from Dorothy Stringer high school. Sixth form students have walked out from Brighton Hove and Sussex sixth form college, Varndean College and Northbrook College.


Around 300 students are rallying outside Cardiff university. They have been joined by a delegation of 50 from the nearby Caerleon FE college. Meanwhile, some 250 students from Gorseinon FE college, near Swansea, are also rallying.


Hundreds of students are gathered outside Sheffield town hall. They include school students from King Edwards school, college and university students.

Students are chanting, “Give us back our EMA, make the fucking bankers pay”. Some have burned placards in protest at the Tory education cuts.


Over 5,000 students from Manchester Metropolitan university and Manchester university have been joined by hundreds of FE and school students as they march towards the city centre.


Police vans and riot cops are preventing thousands of students from entering Parliament Square in London.


Emma from Liverpool reports several thousand students have blockaded the roads around Lime Street station in the city centre. “There’s a mixture of protesters from local schools,colleges and universities. The police are completely outnumbered and don’t know what to do.”


Around 5,000 protesters are marching towards Downing Street from Trafalgar Square.


Up to 3,000 school, college and university students, and education workers, are marching to Leeds city centre from Leeds University.

The action has been boosted by big walkouts from schools and colleges. Around 500 walked out from Notre Dame College, more from Park Lane College and Primrose Hill school.

A feeder march is joining the main march from Allerton Grange School.


Students have broken through police lines at Aldwych and are marching down The Strand.

University College London have gone into occupation.


Over 1,000 students are trapped at Aldwych, central London, as they try to march to Trafalgar Square. Students are surging at police lines.

Some 2,000 students are marching through Leeds.


Around 2,000 protesters, mostly school and FE students, are in Trafalgar Square in London. Loud chants of “Tory scum” are filling the air. Many students are clambering on the lion statues, with more arriving in the square every minute.


Neil from Lancashire reports, “Driving to work today saw about 200 students marching and chanting drums while heading away from Morecambe High school. Then I suddenly realised this part of the day of action!’


Over 200 students are marching towards the Knights Park campus of Kingston University where they will join an Education Activist Network feeder march to the main campus. Students are chanting “David Cameron fuck off back to Eton” and “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!’

12 noon

Students from Dundee university are now occupying the Tower building.


Over 500 students have gathered at ULU in central London and are getting to ready to march down Kingsway towards Trafalgar Square.

There is a heavy police presence on all sides of the march, but students are undeterred.

Ellie from the London School of Economics (LSE) told Socialist Worker, “I missed the national NUS demonstration but what I saw really inspired me and there was no way I was going to miss this one. I’ve nearly finished uni but I’m fighting for future generations and for the people that teach us.”

Greg who graduated recently said, “I scrapped through university with help from my parents, the government, a loan and a hardship fund from my university. Now they are saying that none of this will be available and people will have to rely on the wealth of their parents. There must be millions of young people like me that are now being told that they are not going to make it to university because they cannot afford it. This is an injustice and a crime against young people.’


Over 100 students from Dundee university are protesting outside the humanities building demanding that their college vice-chancellor come and address them. One protester told Socialist Worker that they will occupy the building unless he agrees within the next 10 minutes. The students plan to attend a lunchtime rally with the UCU’s Sasha Callaghan.


Some 100 students are gathering outside City and Islington sixth form college in north London.

One student, Danny Muller, told Socialist Worker, “I don’t want to live in a country where only the rich get an education. A lot of this isn’t about us—it’s our little brothers and friends who will really be hit.

‘If everyone who supports what we say came out on the street we’d have ten times the numbers. The government is already noticing us, but then they’d have to listen. We need to keep protesting in the coming months. “

Over 200 school and university students have just set off from Goldsmith’s University to march to central London to join the carnival of resistance.

Hackney sixth form college in east London has walked out and is marching on Hackney town hall.

Some 50 students at Southbank University have gone into occupation against education cuts.

Students at Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park, north London are walking out in protest over cuts.


At 9.30am around 100 students walked out of Parkside School in Cambridge and marched to the local university.

Long Road sixth form college students are currently walking out and staff have called a protest at lunchtime against education cuts.

There are now over 100 students gathered outside Westminster Kingsway college chanting “when they say cut back we say fuck that!” They are marching to ULU in central London to join a feeder march to Trafalgar Square for the carnival of resistance.

Hundreds of students are piling out of the Notre Dame sixth form college in Leeds to join the protests.

Around 100 students from four different schools are gathering in Kingston and will join a feeder march to Kingston University for a rally against education cuts.


Over 1,100 students have walked out of Chiswick Community School in West London.

Arnie Joahill, one of the students involved in the activities told Socialist Worker. “We are walking out because of the cuts being made and the £9,000 in university fees which will hit us hard. Effectively the whole school has walked out. There has been no confrontation teachers—they support us. We are on our way to join the carnival of resistance in Trafalgar Square and then to march on parliament.’

School students from Haberdashers Askes in south east London have joined with university students outside Goldsmiths College to march into central London.

One school student told SW. “Only half of our year is at school today. People have seen what happened at Millbank, and with the cuts, and know that this is our future. We need to fight for it. University students are fighting for us, we need to help them stop the destruction of education. Lots of people are really pissed off that they are being put down by the coalition government. People are furious at Nick Clegg, he is totally two faced.

‘We haven’t walked out today because when the school authorities heard about it they threatened us with losing our sixth form places and expulsion. So instead we told people to stay at home and meet up at Goldsmiths. There are at least 40 or 50 of us.’


Birmingham University have gone into occupation at the Aston Webb building—the site of the prime ministerial debates. Students have released a statement which says.

‘We extend solidarity to those defending their futures from these regressive measures, which move to segregate our society by means of favouring the rich and powerful, who remain out of touch with the needs of the majority. However, we feel there exists an imperative for change within the University of Birmingham, as not only was the Aston Webb building the stage from which Nick Clegg fed the nation false promises, the financial surplus of the University of Birmingham will stand at £25 million irrespective of cuts and a fee increase. The university still operating on a substantial surplus renders the increase in fees nothing more than an exercise of greed and social segregation. Furthermore, the fact that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham enjoys an annual salary of £342,000, whilst happily imposing cuts such as the 4.4 percent decrease to the wages of support staff paid £12,915 pa is an outrage.”

It goes on to support the mass rally called by the Unison union at lunchtime and calls on others to join them.

Their demands include calls against cuts but also solidarity with workers at the university facing wage cuts. They are also demanding that Lib Dem MPs to stand by their pledges made at the last election to vote against an increase in tuition fees.


Students are starting to gather at Westminster Kingsway College with homemade placards and banners. A group of students are going round the campus knocking on doors and calling others out.

Darius, one of the protesters told Socialist Worker. “I’m on the demo because of the rise in tuition fees. It’s completely unfair. The reality is that lots of people won’t be able to afford £9,000 a year. It is making me think differently about going to university. It’s like the government are trying to take from the poor to feed the rich—it’s out of order.’

Alisha, a student at Westminster Kingsway, told Socialist Worker why she is protesting today. “They’re taking away our future. I’m here to stop the education cuts and tell the government that this isn’t fair. They’re rich, they don’t care about us.’


Over 25,000 college, school and university students across the UK have signed up to a Facebook page organising a co-ordinated walkout from classes at 11am.

Groups organising the protests have sprung up across Britain—in Bury, over 1,100 people have signed up on Facebook to say they are planning to join the walkout and roads have been closed in the town centre for the march.

Feelings are running high. Bitterness towards the Lib Dems for their betrayal of students over the question of fees and education cuts was palpable last night when an effigy of Nick Clegg was hung outside the Hugo Young memorial lecture where he was speaking. Students from across London joined the protest alongside trade unionists and activists in Right to Work.

Students from Royal Holloway University in London went into occupation yesterday at 4pm. Students at Soas (School of African and Oriental Studies) in London are also in occupation as is UWE (University of West England) in Bristol.

In central London today
In central London today
Students from Parkside Community School, Cambridge, march out to protest against education cuts
Students from Parkside Community School, Cambridge, march out to protest against education cuts

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance