Socialist Worker

Rolling coverage of student protests on Day X2

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 reports@ socialistworker.co.uk

Published Tue 30 Nov 2010
Issue No. 2230

Students in Trafalgar Square today (Pic: Jon Hughes)

Students in Trafalgar Square today (Pic: Jon Hughes)



5.45pm

Day X2 has seen tens of thousands of school, college and university students take to the streets to fight the government's plans to devastate education.

It is by no means the end of the battle. Occupations are continuing in several universities and some students are still protesting on the streets.

Students across Britain have plans for more action in the near future.

On Sunday 5 December the Education Activists Network has called a national teach-in on “Education for the people, not the market”, which will bring together academics, artists, musicians, writers, trade unionists and students.

For more information go to EAN

And, on the day that MPs vote on fee rises, we will need huge protests outside parliament and action in schools, colleges, universities and workplaces across Britain.

The government is shaken. We have the power to beat them.


5.07pm

A 400 strong protest in York is blocking Lendal Bridge in York. They attempted to get into the council chamber but police blocked them.


4.14pm

Around 400 demonstrators from three universities and various colleges at Cardiff's carnival against the cuts. Currently about 50 students are occupying a Lloyds TSB business branch.


3.39pm

Workers and students of University College London Slade School of Fine Art have occupied.


3.36pm

Students have marched through Taunton, Somerset, as part of Day X2. They staged a sit-down outside Market House.


3.34pm

Students are occupying at Kingston University against plans to increase tuition fees.

They are in a first floor teaching room in the Galsworthy Building.


3.30pm

A post worker from Mount Pleasant mail centre and in London joined the student protest in central London.

He brought a home-made placard reading, 'We won't pay for the bankers' balls-ups'.

He told Socialist Worker, 'I'm here because my daughter is protesting in Glasgow—I'm here to show solidarity with all the students.

'This shows that we can fight. I think it's great that, even though the police have tried to bully them, the students aren't standing for it.'


3.26pm

School students are occupying Oxford county hall.


3.23pm

Alistair Holmes is a student occupying at the University of Sheffield. He told Socialist Worker, 'There are around 100 of us here. It was very spontaneous. We're a bit frustrated as we went to Nick Clegg's office and he wasn't there. We wanted to throw snowballs at it but there were too many police in the way.'

Students are now meeting to discuss their next move.

Rush messages of support to occupation.sheffield @gmail.com


3.14pm

Sheffield university students are occupying.


3.10pm

Students in Bristol have been marching since 11am this morning. They have marched to the university twice, have protested outside Vodafone and are currently outside the senate house.


3.03pm

Students at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are occupying.


2.52pm

Rush messages of support to Leeds students to occupiedleeds@gmail.com


2.50pm

Students in Aberdeen have occupied the city's branch of the Conservative Association.

They are protesting over plans for public service cuts and in solidarity with students fighting planned increases in tuition fees in England and Wales.


2.43pm

Police have surrounded the occupation at the University of Leeds. Around 200 people remain inside, including some school students.


2.26pm

Some sixty activists are sitting in the council chamber in Birmingham, following a 300-strong protest. They have refused to move and are demanding to meet the councillor in charge of education in the presence of the press.


2.18pm

The protest in Bristol has swelled to at least 2,000. Students lit flares during their march. Police attempted to block them in at College Green but failed, and students carried on marching.


2.10pm

Hundreds of sixth formers and school students are holding a sit-down in a shopping centre in Cambridge town centre.

They are chanting, “Tory scum!” and singing, “Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the Tories on the top. Put the Lib Dems in the middle and then burn the bloody lot!”.

An occupation is continuing at the University of Cambridge, despite university management obtaining an injunction against the students yesterday.


1.44pm

Protesting students have forced road closures in Colchester. Hundreds of sixth formers and university students are marching around the town centre.

North Hill, High Street and Head Street are closed to traffic.


1.38pm

Thousands of students have taken over central London and are marching down Oxford Street.

People are chanting, 'This is what democracy looks like' and the march is loud and confident.

There's a large contingent from the London School of Economics. Emily, a student there, told Socialist Worker, 'We want to go into occupation.

'People thought that students wouldn't be able to fight or that we'd just have a one-off demonstration. But now we've shown that we have a national movement—and ideas that can win.'

Lots of people on Oxford Street are clapping the march as it passes. At one point, lots of bus drivers honked their horns in unison in support of the students, leading to a chant of 'Workers and students—unite and fight' ringing throughout the march.


1.30pm

Around 60 people have occupied Birmingham council chamber.


1.25pm

Brighton and Hove city council has removed council staff from its offices in anticipation of a mass student protest today.

Students are expected to march to Hove Town Hall in Norton Road as part of the protest against cuts and tuition fee increases.


1.19pm

Students in Liverpool have occupied the roof of the university and hung banners.


1.16pm

Meanwhile in Rome, thousands of students are protesting and trying to reach parliament.

Police vans and lines of officers in riot gear are blocking them.

Students are protesting against funding cuts and greater private involvement in education.

Similar protests are taking place in other Italian cities, including Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Palermo and Bari. In Genoa, students protested under the slogan “they block our future, we block the cities.”

Police blockades in Rome prevented several lines of marchers from converging on the square outside the Chamber of Deputies and blocked bus and tram routes.

Elsewhere, police and protesters briefly clashed.


1.14pm

School students protesting outside Vince Cable's Twickenham office are chanting, 'Shame on you for turning blue”.

One school student aged 15, Joe Rogers, said, “I want to go to university so does everyone here but we can’t afford it.

“We just want to be heard.”

Charlie Pellow, aged 14, added, ”I want to get a job but I’m worried I won’t be able to afford university.”

15-year-old Sophie Mann said they feared the cost of higher education would rise even more in the coming years.

“We’re worried that when we go to university it’s going to be even worse,' she said.


1.12pm

Between 600 and 700 students have occupied the University of Leeds—again.


1.11pm

Hundreds of students in Sheffield are marching to deputy prime minister—and local MP—Nick Clegg's office. Max, one of the marchers, told Socialist Worker, 'It's really snowy here so it's good that so many people turned out. We have students here from the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and colleges.'

Students are chanting, 'Nick Clegg, we know you, you're a fucking Tory too.'


1.03pm

Three banks near the University of Leeds have closed—in anticipation of student occupations.


1.01pm

Around 2,000 students are marching in Manchester. Dom, one of those marching, told Socialist Worker, 'Lots of colleges have walked out and so have some school students—there are students here with school uniforms on.

'It's very young, I'd say that at least half the people are under 18.

'There are a lot more police this time than there were last week. We want to march to the town hall, but police on horses are in front of the march and behind it, so we don't know if we'll make it.

'People are chanting, 'Whose streets? Our streets!''

More students have remained behind in a continuing occupation at the University of Manchester.


12.54pm

School students are protesting outside Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable's office in Twickenham.

They told a local reporter they were from Orleans Park School, Twickenham.

Many are as young as 14.


12.51pm

A huge cheer goes up in Leeds as school students from Otley join the march. More than 600 are protesting, including UCU and PCS union members.


12.49pm

Chloe, a school student from east London, is on the protest in central London. 'I didn't tell my parents I was going on the protest last week,' she told Socialist Worker.

'But when I got home they knew I'd been there and they told me how proud they were of me. The police have been trying to put us off from demonstrating.

'But we have to come out because that's how you change things, isn't it?'


12.42pm

School and sixth form students have walked out in Wiltshire. Around 30 students from Hardenhuish school met up at 10am today in Chippenham town centre to protest against planned rises in university tuition fees.

They expect students from Sheldon school to join them.

Students carried homemade placards reading, “Six K? No way!”

Chris King, aged 17, said, “The rises are totally unjust and unfair when you consider that most of the people in the cabinet either went to Uni for free or are millionaires.

“We just wanted to show that we’re angry about this and we’re not going to sit quietly and let this happen.”

He added, “The government are continuing our involvement with Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are unwilling to put money behind the education of young people in this country.

“We are the future doctors and nurses and teachers of this country. We are a Lib Dem area and Nick Clegg has gone back on his word to support the students.”

Another student, aged 16, said, “It is a very cold day but we want to stand firm and prove our point.”


12.32pm

Students at the University of Nottingham have gone into occupation at the Great Hall, University Park.


12.31pm

Students marching in Edinburgh have passed the Museum of Scotland chanting, 'Tory scum!'

Students are carrying a DIY coffin down the Royal Mile with 'RIP education' on the sides.


12.28pm

Thousands of students in central London have ran to Trafalgar Square—where police and police vans blocked the exists. Territorial support group officers are getting their helmets on.


12.24pm

Students in Leeds are chanting, 'Too many kettles, not enough tea!' as police attempt to kettle them in the city centre.

Meanwhile hundreds of students have gathered in Bristol city centre. Protesters assembled on College Green in the city centre and then marched towards the Broadmead shopping area.

Students from the University of Bristol and the University of West of England are among the demonstrators.


12.20pm

Students at King's College London have occupied the Edmund Safra lecture theatre in protest at education cuts.


12.16pm

Students in central London have now taken an alternative route and are heading towards St James Park after being blocked by police. The protest is very young with lots of college students. People are chanting, 'No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!'

Some students have burned placards in Trafalgar Square.


12.11pm

Students are running down Whitehall—police are already blocking the way, despite clearing the road of traffic.


11.59am

Leeds march has now set off. Hundreds of college and school students are in Trafalgar Square chanting, 'Save our EMA'.


11.46am

Police are blocking protesters in Leeds from marching to the city centre.


11.43am

Police have surrounded Millbank, the site of the Tory HQ, in central London in anticipation of today's student protests. Students are starting to gather at Trafalgar Square.


11.19am

Students at Southbank university in south London are heading to Trafalgar Square to join the protests for Day X2.

Students there held an occupation after Day X last week and have been making links with other activists in the area.

Jon, one of the students, told Socialist Worker, “We went to the RMT tube picket lines yesterday. Once we said we were student occupiers we got a really good response—they had all heard about the student protests.

“We hope that some local trade unionists will be on the student protests today.”

The students’ occupation has forced their vice-chancellor to agree to meet with them and this will take place on Friday.

And Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Lib Dems, is coming to speak to students on Thursday.

“We expect that he will say he’ll vote against fee rises,” said Jon. “But we want more than that. We want him to push the rest of the party.

“If he won’t, we’ll be occupying his office and protesting everywhere he goes. You can’t just turn back on your pledges. The Lib Dems are propping up the coalition and we want to hold them to account.”

Simon Hughes will be speaking at 5.30pm on Thursday in the Keyworth Building at Southbank university.


10.31am

Edinburgh students may get the chance to take their message very directly to deputy prime minister and Lib Dem liar Nick Clegg today—he is due to launch the Scottish Bill at 3.10pm at Dynamic Earth, Holyrood.

That’s next to the Scottish parliament, which is where a student march is heading.

The march assembles at Bristo Square, The Old Town, at 11.30am today. Students occupying Edinburgh University say, “This will be more than just Britain’s biggest snowball fight! This will be the opportunity for students, higher education staff, their supporters and all those who will be affected by upcoming cuts to make their voices heard by the government. Quite literally.”

Go to http://edinunianticuts.wordpress.com/ for more details.


10.23am

Students at the University of Manchester are planning to rally from 12 noon at University Place. A small group of students are still in occupation at the university—and students are leafleting lectures this morning to build the protest.

Students are expecting college and school students to join them and may march to the town centre.


10.04am

Students at the University of Plymouth, who are into their eighth day of occupation, are planning more action today. School and college students are expected to walk out to join the protests.

Chico Carino, one of the occupiers, had some hair shaved on Sunday in a 'cuts against the cuts' demonstration. He said: 'It feels like the university is not taking us seriously.

'They haven't even said they are willing to condemn the education cuts.

'Our spirits are high at the moment. We are happy to stay in the room until our demands are met.”

Matt, a local worker, has visited the occupation to support the students. “Students from a local sixth form and a secondary school walked out on Day X last week and some then visited the occupation.

“There have been a lot of visits from groups of students. Individual lecturers have given support and other trade unionists have visited, including PCS union members from the land registry.

“The students received a letter of support from the city of Plymouth Unison union branch too.”

Students are calling on the university to condemn the cuts, to cut senior staff salaries of £100,000 or more and to “redress the balance of education over enterprise”.

They plan a further rally for Sunday, which may see a coffin procession to symbolise a “funeral” for education.


9.38am

Students have developed a new chant for Day X2: 'Snow ifs, snow buts, snow to education cuts!'


9.37am

Cardiff students are preparing for another day of mass walkouts and protests on Day X2.

They will gather on Queen Street this afternoon and plan to hold a “Carnival of the Cuts” protest in the city centre.

Students plan to march from Cardiff University students union and the University Wales Institute, Cardiff Howard Gardens campus, from 2pm.

One student, Edmund Schluessel, said that cuts in education and other public services are “unnecessary and reckless”.

Cardiff Central Lib Dem MP Jenny Willott said she would resign from the government to vote against any rise in student fees.

Postgraduate student, Seb Power said:

'Jenny Willott's statement represents a third victory for our campaign, after Leighton Andrews' Thursday announcement that the EMA grant will continue in Wales and Cardiff University's acquiescence to two of the demands of our peaceful occupation of the university Main Building.

'We call for Jenny Willott to continue along these lines and promise to vote against every cutback to the public services which provide a third of the jobs in the city she represents.'

To find out details of local protests today go to http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com/


9.13am

The deputy head of Chiswick Community School in west London, James Whiting, has appeared on Breakfast TV this morning arguing for opposition to cuts in the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

Students at the school are planning a mass walkout today, following a walkout on Day X on Wednesday of last week.

Please rush messages of support to James at enquiries@chiswick.hounslow.sch.uk

Please text messages of support to the students to Arnie Joahill at: 07860 568 559

Protesters in Edinburgh (Pic: Alison S Brown)

Protesters in Edinburgh (Pic: Alison S Brown)


The march by Leeds students

The march by Leeds students



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Tue 30 Nov 2010, 09:20 GMT
Issue No. 2230
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