Article last updated on 15 December.
Another student Day of Action was called for Thursday 9 December, the day that MPs voted on changes to higher education including an increase in tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year. Actions took place around Parliament, at schools, colleges and universities, including the many currently under occupation, and in town and city centres across the country. The protests in London were marred by police violence and featured an appearance by Charles and Camilla, who popped by on their way to the Royal Variety Show.
photo by rikki
On the newswires:
London: Feature | Book Bloc 1 | Book Bloc 2 | Photos from start of march | Demo leaves Malet St | Photos of march | Photos of protest | Bristol student hospitalised | Vigil for hospitalised student with life threatening injuries | Police pull a disabled protester from his wheelchair | wheelchair sans protester | Seriously dehydrated we need water in this kettle | Parliament square 1 | Parliament square 2 | Video | Paintbombs | Report and photos by rikki | More reports and photos 1 | 2 | 3 | Student suffers brain injury | A-level student's account of being kettled | London student's account | Bristolians in London | The fight for Parliament | Christmas tree on fire | Westminster Bridge | Cops try to commandeer hospital | Alfie Meadows and how to complain to the hospital | Press conference for Alfie Meadows 1 | 2 | 3 | Analysis | Accounts from inside the kettles | Fitwatch advice for those identified by the Met | Green and Black Cross legal appeal | David Cameron speaks out on police violence
Elsewhere: Birmingham: Guerilla Orchestra | Newcastle: A week of actions | Bradford: A week of actions | Glasgow: Report from Glasgow protest | Witney, Oxfordshire: Protest in David Cameron's constituency | Belfast: March and demo | Derry: Rally and planned walkout
Previous features on recent student actions and occupations: UK features 1 | 2 | Sheffield 1 | 2 | 3 | Oxford | Birmingham | Nottingham 1 | 2 | 3 | Northern | Scotland 1 | 2 | Bristol 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | London 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Day X3 March on Parliament: summary from the timelines
At about 12.30pm, students from the University of East London and school pupils demonstrated outside the Bank of England.
An estimated 10-15,000 strong crowd set off from Malet Street soon after midday, only for the front end to be stopped by the cops after a short way for unclear reasons and also by would-be organisers at the back anxious to deliver speeches ad nauseam to a captive audience. Eventually, after calls for the speakers to shut up, people got moving in what has been described as a 'moving kettle', but with some taking a jog through Covent Garden en route. The marchers eventually joined several thousands more in Trafalgar Square by about 1pm. Later estimates of numbers suggest that as many as 30,000 protesters may have been on the London demo today.
The march was joined by the Book Bloc carrying a mobile library of large print volumes 'to affirm and defend what is under attack: Our universities and public libraries, literacy, thought, culture and jobs. In the past few weeks our attempts to do so peacefully have been met by police with batons, riot shields and horses. These are not isolated incidents of brutality but part of a system of institutional violence. By bringing books into the streets we are drawing attention to the violence at the heart of the neo-liberal ideology of the Con-Dem government.'
At Parliament Square, riot cops two deep had effectively kettled the Houses of Parliament and had also blocked off the Victoria Street exit from the Square. Eggs and paint bombs were thrown at cops and vans. The fences around Parliament Square were dismantled and the space reclaimed. Mounted cops charged the crowd, apparently forcing some protesters to climb barriers to avoid being crushed and leading to casualties on both sides. One mounted cop was thrown by his horse in Victoria Street. A disabled protester was dragged from his wheelchair by the cops. The crowd used Harris fencing to keep the mounted police at bay. Fires were lit to keep people warm including one huge one in Parliament Square after a security cabin was set alight. Back in Whitehall, lines of cops for some reason decided to try to stop two groups of students from meeting up, effectively making themselves sandwich filling and resulting in gleeful chants of 'Who's kettled now?' from the students. In a surreal moment, Charles and Camilla passed through the protest on their way to the Royal Variety Show, acquiring a new paintjob for the royal car en route. The Treasury building was beseiged amid chants of 'We want our money back', windows smashed at the Supreme Court and at Oxford Street Topshop.
At around 8.30pm, the police started to move the Parliament Square kettle onto Westminster Bridge, where people were kettled for several more hours.
Cops attempted to secure Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for their own use and to deny immediate, lifesaving treatment to student Alfie Meadows, injured by a police baton and needing emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Fortunately, the ambulance crew were having none of it and insisted on him being admitted. This report includes details of how to complain to the hospital. A demonstration for Alfie Meadows has been called for Tuesday 14 December.
Bristol student, Paddy Besiris, elected rep. at the University of the West of England, was also hospitalised after sustaining a head injury.
Soon after 5.30pm, the results of the parliamentary votes were announced. On the vote to raise fees to up to £9,000, the Con-Dem government won the vote by a narrow 323 votes to 302 against. Two Lib-Dem parliamentary aides resigned their posts today, along with one Tory.
Later actions and more
Although only about 100 students turned up to protest at the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills about the withdrawal of EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) on the evening of Monday 13 December, the cops, including the TSG, were out in force.
The occupation at Goldsmiths University Library has succeeded in reopening all facilities over the weekend while the students are still occupying the space. The occupiers reported on Saturday 11 December that 'After negotiations today, Goldsmiths’ Senior Management Team agreed to our demand that the library be opened to students as of 9am Sunday. The building shall remain open until midnight. No library staff will be working, but the whole building will be available to students for study purposes. IT services and electronic issuing and returns will also be available.'
Analysis and advice
Analysis and advice for those taking part in protests from Past-tense.
5pm: Kettle at Parliament Square broken and protesters escape up Whitehall. (Yay)
Supposedly intelligent people committed to reporting accurately events and issues?
A bunch of tossers who never miss a chance to thrust a camera into the melee and pontificate in the most toady arse-licking and slimy reverence to the status quo.
They will get your mug shot and scream for prosecution as loud and hysterically as any deranged 5 year old.
Listen kids, on the next demo - realise that sky, the bbc etc are not there to document events, they are there to stitch you up.
Cover your faces and express your feelings to them.
"between Whitehall and Middlesex Guild Hall."
"between Westminster Abbey and Middlesex Guild Hall (AKA the Supreme Court Building)"