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Student anti-cuts demo in London

imc-uk-features | 10.11.2010 21:08 | Public sector cuts | Repression | Workers' Movements

Latest: 24th November – National Student Walkout | Statement from the Sussex Occupation | Fitwatch website suspended for "attempting to pervert the course of justice"

Over 50,000 students traveled to London from around the UK today, Wednesday November 10th. Marchers congregated in Horse Guards Avenue in Central London before marching past Westminster and the Houses of Parliament to Millbank. From there, it was just a short distance to the Tory Headquarters at 30 Millbank, where protesters made their feelings known (Rooftop occupation).

The demonstration had been called by the National Union of Students and the University and Colleges Union, and comes a week after a similar demonstration attended by 25,000 people in Dublin, Ireland (Interviews with students on the Irish march).

Reports and photos from the newswire: Pictures From Student Demo | Millbank Occupied as 50,000 Protest Education Cuts | student cuts demo - pics from parliament square | “Tory Scum, Education is a Right”… | Nick Clegg cancels visit to Oxford | Students march against cuts, occupy Conservative Party HQ | First hand reports from the storming of the Tory Scum HQ | Press Release: Anarchist Federation | Students Show the Way – Honours All Round for the Millbank Protesters | Millbank – what happened, and how can we build on it?

Video: The Siege Of Millbank

Solidarity with the arrested protesters: November 10th Demonstrator Defence Campaign | Statement of solidarity with students arrested | Advice for students fearing arrest

Propaganda: Millbank poster - an attack on one... | Millbank Tiny Minority Poster | No One Likes A Rat - Defend the Millbank Protesters - Poster

Con-Dem Cuts Spark More University Occupations: Manchester Uni Occupation | Sussex Uni occupation tonight!

Related Links: [ Autonomous Students Network | Publish your reports of today's demo | London Indymedia 'Tumblewire']




accounts of todays happenings.

10.11.2010 23:06

Indymedia, last hours and lib com.
Arriving at the starting point of the demo the energy (and noise) levels were already extremely high. There were thousands of young people from all over the country, but it seemed that the whole event was being carefully controlled by stewards. All the placards had lame reformist slogans (admittedly with a few vaguely funny ones) and we were expecting a pretty tame march from A to B. When we finally found the Anarchist (or “Radical Workers and Students”) block, after fighting our way through Trotskyists and NUS stewards, I was disappointed to see that it was pretty small and not in a very good position in terms of visibility. On the march itself, the only act of civil disobedience we saw was a short lived attempt by about 20 people to sit down and block the road. However, when we passed the Milbank building the anarchists had been split up a little and when we looked back to try and spot some red and blag flags we were surprised to see that they were in amongst a group of probably hundreds of others. People were running into the building trying to smash windows and graffiti-ing the walls, because we didn’t see exactly how it started we don’t know how true the mainstream media’s claim that a small group of anarchists “hijacked” the peaceful protest by instigating property damage is. One thing though is for absolute certain, that self-identified anarchists were themselves only a small minority of all the people engaged in all the acts of civil disobedience and property damage. Even at this point there were literally hundreds of people either directly pushing against police, throwing stuff at them or smashing things. The NUS claim that there were over 50 000 people in total at the demonstration and only a minority took part in the “violence”. A “minority” of this number would mean far more people than usually attend demos in recent years.
That first incident seemed to die down quite soon and we assumed it would be easily put down by the Met, based on previous painful experience of their capabilities. Besides, we had already seen more property damage than had happened at the London G20 protests, and of a more suitably symbolic building so it had already been more of a successful demo than we’d been expecting. We walked on and soon came to the end point of the march. Predictably enough for a demo organised by bureaucrats, we were expected to stand around listening to speeches and chanting in a space controlled by security guards and stewards. We decided “fuck this” and were on our way back down towards where we came from, when we noticed smoke coming from the courtyard in the Milbank building. The energy there then was pretty excited and there were virtually no police in sight, there was a small line of cops at the entrance and people were already throwing stuff at them – to a degree rarely seen at demos in Britain. However, we had received a call out to go to the business and innovation centre where apparently something was going down. We never made it there because as we were walking down we saw a crowd of people with a sound system break away from the crowds to the end point. They went down a side street and had a mini reclaim the streets style party with a line of riot police watching, whilst blocking the way to the lib dem headquarters. Amusingly that street was called “cowley street” the same name of a famous leader of the brighton squatting movement during the great depression. People danced to dub step for a while and threw stuff at cops before going back toward the tory hq where the fires were still burning. When we go back there we saw a push and shove situation with the cops in front of one of the big glass walls, that was already nearly completely smashed apart.
The stand off continued for a while, with heightening tensions, amplified by shouts of support from thousands of people behind. Some demonstrators were already inside waving placards and further trying to help break the glass. When the crowds saw that people had got on to the roof and were waving banners, read and blag flags, with their fists in the air, they screamed encouragement and further energised those at the front lines. Eventually some people started smashing apart a different glass wall and the police didn’t even try to stop them. It came down with a resounding crash and we all piled in to the foyer of the building, there was probably over 100 people in this area, some smashing windows, some pushing against cops to gain to access to the stairs, all shouting “tory scum, tory scum”. There was a tense stand off at the door for a while and the very few cops guarding it seemed shit scared and confused, finally this was resolved: we got the doors open. This enabled many to make their way through the building, smashing what they could and making their way to the roof. Many managed to escape through the fire exit after staying as long as they individually felt necessary, but according to news reports some were still inside hours later, and probably many got arrested.

The storming of the Tory party HQ occurred about an hour after the organised march had already started gathering at its final destination point to watch important people deliver pre-recorded (largely inaudible) messages on a giant TV screen. A high-spirited spontaneous demo had been occupying the square outside of the building with a bonfire of placards since the march had passed it by en route. This was despite the stewards’ attempts to file everybody by the building unnoticed, and the crowd seemed a broad representation of demo participants (mostly unmasked with a variety of placards and signs); far from the ‘organised contingent of troublemaker anarchists’ that Aaron Porter, the MET and the mainstream media have predictably reported as at the heart of all transgressive action. In fact, the radical student and workers’ bloc called for by sol fed and afed was disappointingly small and disorganised; comprising just a handful of red and black flags amongst other demonstrators, and seemed to get broken apart 2/3 of the way through the march when cops held the crowd back at a roundabout.
When the plate glass windows of the building started getting smashed, the atmosphere within the square was energetic. The entire crowd seemed behind the actions, cheering support for those at the front, calling for people to move in en masse, and continuously pushing forward in an attempt to do so. This action did not seem in any way pre-planned, but happened spontaneously in the midst of a lively and diverse mass demo of students wanting to direct their anger directly at some of those responsible for selling out their futures (continual chants of ‘Tory scum’ and the like).
There were relatively few cops defending the building at this point and the crowd was able to push through at various points using bodymass with minimal physical interaction once the windows had been broken. Many, once in, set about helping others to join them by smashing other windows (lots of them without masks) to open the atrium up to the surging crowd. Greater numbers were only prevented from getting into the atrium (which filled up quickly) by the lifts having been disabled and the stairwell being blocked off by cops with drawn batons. However the police were lacking in numbers and were prevented from forming a solid line by protestors linking arms and using effective bodymass (we witnessed one individual dearrested by the crowd after having been pulled by cops from this group). Eventually the few police defending the door withdrew, enabling many of the crowd to join comrades on the roof.
Physical violence inside was minimal at this stage, consisting mainly just of pushing, with cops outnumbered and therefore unwilling to antagonise, and protestors intent only on getting further into the building. In fact most of the violence named by the news reports seems mainly to refer just to property damage. This consisted mostly of smashed windows and fire hoses/extinguishers set off, although we have also heard reports of a fire extinguisher dropped from the roof, and we left relatively early. The crowd packed into the square remained supportive of those within the building, cheering and waving at people on the roof. After less than half an hour of our having joined the initial group of occupiers on the roof, a decision was taken collectively by a spontaneous meeting of lots of those present to leave the building together as a group, which we did successfully, a small number of people remaining behind. Having locked their doors, the tory offices which occupied the lower floors of the building (and those inside them) remained untouched.

anonymous affinity group

The Sun newspaper is appealing for intelligence on the protestors

11.11.2010 11:12

As usual the Scum is trying it's best to discredit protesters. It features several pieces referring to a minority of students infiltrated by anarchists. It's also appealing for people to contact them with information on the protesters.

So, you know what to do, innit!

"Do you know the bare chested student? If so call the newsdesk on 0207 782 4104.

Read more:"

fuck the sun
mail e-mail:
- Homepage: http://call the newsdesk on 0207 782 4104


Hide the following 9 comments

And mine

11.11.2010 00:34

Indeed by the time we got there the absolutely massive demo was vibrant passionate singing dancing and shouting and standing and drumming and whistling and sitting atop the bustops... It wasn't the best demo ever, but the best I've attended. When I finally found the militants we looked at the bus for a bit then wandered inside the graffitid square, where there were placard bonfires and small red fireworks. There were af and sf and unalligned anarchists. There were a lot of swppies and ucu much to their credit, revolution and the communist parties, SU, individual universities, and plenty socialists and unalligned militants and hippies. The stones were dug out of the ground by one, thrown by another and the smashed window broken into by even more. There was plenty unity. The fire extinguisher thing was ridiculous idea, but when they threw something else slightly further into the crowd we chanted 'stop throwing shit' till they got the message. Truth though, most of the people were still on side despite this. It'd be nice if whatever organisation this person was from could issue some sort of explaination. I understand that the individual probably can't come forward, but that one thing and the injury caused has made a lot of people focus on that


Interesting comments on #demo2010 protest and millbank occupation

11.11.2010 02:10

From Indymedia London:

Two interesting articles on today by reader

Student protest: we are all in this together
The occupation of Conservative party HQ is about so much more than fees. At last the country is beginning to fight back

"Usually, I’d say that smashing windows achieves nothing, that all it does is contribute to negative images of militant and radical protest. I don’t have a problem with it per se, it’s just property after all. As long as people aren’t harmed by action I don’t care. Rather, I simply object to it on the grounds that it turns people off. But today I feel differently. It’s just some fucking windows in the way of an occupation that takes the fight directly to the Tories. Fuck it. A few smashed windows pale in comparison to the thousands of futures which have been smashed by the coalition government.***

*** I understand there were a few instances of things being thrown from the roof at people. Obviously this is unacceptable.

Fight the media. Be the media.


Same in Ireland last wednesday! by dejavu student risings

One week ago a very similar thing happened in Dublin:

Students Occupy Department Of Finance

Upwards of 25,000 students from across Ireland descended onto the streets of Dublin on Wednesday 3rd November, 2,000 students broke off and occupied the Department of Finance.


Right to Work statement by R2W

Right to Work statement on the Fees Demo protest

The Tories, the Liberal Democrats and their right wing allies in the media want to price working class (and many middle class) students out going to university, they cut the £30 a week paid to the poorest FE students, and then cry horror when a few windows get broken by student protesters.

These people think nothing of destroying our lives and futures through cuts and job losses. Yet they are surprised when anger bursts onto the streets.

Their hypocritical response betrays nervousness. Today's demonstration was double all estimates and the biggest student protest in decades.

In every college it must be followed up by building united resistance to cuts and Con-Dem austerity.


CH4 Chief Correspondent: "C'est n'est tu'un debut" by students arise! workers join us!

CH4 Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson blogs from the wrecked lobby at Millbank Tower:

One curious fact though today, I spoke to three different policemen in very different areas, all of whom said there would be a lot more of this and expressed considerable sympathy with what happened here today.

That sentiment echoed too by a 54-year-old office manager of a charity, who looked at the damage here and said that phrase we have heard so much today: "this is only the beginning".

These students of course will not remember, and nor can I, the events of May '68 in Paris and the student slogan then: "C'est n'est tu'un debut" - this is only a start.

Read More at:


"the NUS lobby wasn't enough for us" by anarchist voodoo

Student protest: the NUS lobby wasn't enough for us

The idea that anarchists were behind the occupation of Tory HQ is wrong. This was the action of students radicalised by cuts.


Interesting reads on DEMOLITION demo2010

Comment Published: November 11, 2010 01:39 by anticuts


NUS president in broken pledge

11.11.2010 22:53

It seems that the Lib-Dems aren't the only people to break promises. Aaron Porter, President of the NUS supports direct action occupation ... except when it actually happens. Sounds like he's got his post-NUS job sorted. Soon to be standing as a candidate in an election near you?

| Quote |

last Saturday afternoon ... I challenged him [Porter, NUS President] directly: in the spirit of building unity, would he support direct action occupations against the cuts by students in the UK?
He said yes.
Four days later, and he’s all over the news distancing NUS from the student occupiers and the thousands who cheered them on.

| Source |

[IMC mods - yes, I know a lot of this is a repost, but not from corporate media, and I think it adds a bit of context]


As a working class bloke...

12.11.2010 11:21

...thanks to the posh kids who smashed some windows. It will make my life and the lives of my family and friends much better.

Dan Factor
mail e-mail:

As a student ...

12.11.2010 13:44

Can people get over the idea that all students are posh? From the comment above, it seems not (I'm assuming it's sarcastic). I'm a student, and not posh. Neither are many of my friends. Yes, many students (esp. at uni level - but it wasn't just uni students at the demo) are posh, but don't tar us all with the same brush. It's a similar stereotyped and inaccurate statement as saying all people on benefits are scroungers.

If, and I admit it is a big if, we can stop these cuts going through, it could well help future generations of your family by making it a lot easier to go into further or higher education if that's what they want to do.


The arrests have begun

13.11.2010 08:14

A 23 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of dropping the fire extinguisher and released on bail.

The press

No crimes were committed

13.11.2010 16:14

When an ordinary person tells the police their windows have been smashed, all they normally get is a crime number for insurance purposes. Yet over fifty people have now been arrested. This is another example of the elite demanding, and getting, special privileges from the police.

By the standards which are normally applied by the police, politicians, and the media, no actual crimes were committed by the demonstrators; this was “merely anti-social behaviour”. That is true even of the throwing of the fire extinguisher. I agree it was a dangerous and could have killed some one. However, even beating some one with an iron bar or stabbing them with a knife has been dismissed by the police as mere anti-social behaviour when the victim is not a VIP or a police officer.

The Tories have been saying that people shouldn’t be criminalised by sending them to prison for “minor offences”. However, in this case David Cameron has said that smashing windows constituted “crimes…which must be punished”.

I wish there was some organisation campaigning for the law to be enforced impartially. Everyone should get equal protection from those responsible for law enforcement.

Just a Man

To the streets!

15.11.2010 13:59


Carnival against the coalition of scum!

Central London Saturday 20th November

Enough is enough!

Following the great outburst of anger of students at Millbank we must not lose momentum.

Everyone but the rich and their protectors are being abused by this coalition of scum they call the government. We will not wait months for another fucking union A-B march which achieves absolutely nothing.

We will fight back now! Fuck the rich! Fuck the cops! Everyone to the streets on Saturday November 20! We will party in Parliament Square and if the cops try and stop us with their usual violence-WE WILL FUCKING DEFEND OURSELVES!

Unite against the bastards-whatever you call yourselves-student, worker, poor, Muslim, anarchist, socialist, communist, human-these fucking scum are destroying us and our planet-FUCK THEM!

Fucking politicians come on TV and call a few smashed windows violence. Yet they send a bunch of terrorists called troops to murder and destroy entire countries-all in the name of profit. We protest their violence and are met by armed thugs with batons and shields. Self defence is not violence. Property damage is not violence.

Join the Stop the War march but not as a block-Hyde Park Corner-Noon. Go as groups or individuals. Take different clothes to change into away from the cameras. Hide your face! Be prepared at any stage during the day to take direct action. Ignore the stewards-they work with the cops and Stop the War are a government front to keep the fucking wars ongoing by stopping meaningful Direct Action.

On the march pull down barriers-block the polluting traffic that makes us sick.
Word is spreading – there are many of us going to this and we are ready for real action.

Reclaim Parliament Square and then the streets of London!


WHEN DARK TARGET THE BANKS! They fund the destruction and wars and steal your money.
This is only the beginning (next 24th Nov, 4th Dec)-RISE UP!
Spread the word!
Feel free to make your own poster, rewrite and circulate. Put it on facebook or twitter or whatever.


I get the feeling...

15.11.2010 15:18

....some people are enjoying being angry a bit too much lol!


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