NUS/UCU ‘Fund our Future’ Demonstration

The Metropolitan Police have released a statement detailing that 50 people have been arrested in connection with the disorder at the protest yesterday. All  were taken to  police stations around London and  bailed to return pending further enquires in mid-February 2011.

Goldsmiths lecturers union (UCU) have released a statement congratulating staff and students on the “magnificent” demonstration. They also wished to “distance” themselves from the “divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership” concerning the Millbank occupation.

The statement goes on to say: “The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts” and that there is a hope that the demonstration is “the beginning of a sustained defense” of not just higher education but also public services and welfare provision.

ELL followed the NUS/UCU demonstration against funding cuts to higher education and a rise in tuition fees all day. Our reporters were on the march with a contingent from Goldsmiths. Latest updates will be at the top of the page, please read for the bottom to follow the time sequence.

Latest Update:

It has been widely reported that there were 35 arrests made by police and 14 people, both police and protestors, were injured during the march.


This is the end of our live coverage, but keep visiting Eastlondonlines for any further developments regarding the protest.


Reporter Mike adds a last word: “The police are continuing to photograph the protesters and leading them out one by one. I think the message of the protest has been heard loud and clear, one way or another.”


Our reporter, Michael Northcott, believes that the protesters outside the building could be there for a while: “A police officer told me that the remaining protesters would not be released until they have all been photographed. There are what looks like about 200-300 people still penned in.”


Reports say around 60 protesters are still in the building and waiting for the police to go through CCTV material to see if they want to charge anybody. The mood is calm: ”We’ve made our point and we just want to go home,” said one Goldsmiths student.


Our reporter at Millbank, Michael Northcott says: “There are three bonfires burning embers now. Loads of police in riot gear and lots of camera crews. Not that many protesters left at the tower now, although the police seem to be hemming in the remainder.”

“People are remonstrating about their right to freedom of movement.”


Figures are coming in for the number of people on the roof of the Tower, there are 4-5 Goldsmiths students and the whole group totals 20-25 people. The rest come from all over the country.


The Metropolitan Police have issued a statement saying that eight people have been taken to various London hospitals, having suffered minor injuries. This includes both police and protesters.


We also have a video showing some of the actions of the protesters surrounding Millbank Tower, filmed by our reporter Germaine Arnold:


BREAKING NEWS: We have had reports that some of the people on the roof of Millbank Tower are Goldsmiths students.


Many of the posters on Twitter have taken the same line, Rolo_Tamasi wrote “Students have blown their cause and put protests back 10 years. Completely lost my support. #demo2010. No tax for students”

While LittleDahlin wrote: “Don’t let violence ruin the message! #demo2010


The NUS website is running a tagline condemning the ‘violent idiots undermining [the] message of 50,000’

Talking to the BBC, Aaron Porter said:

“This was not part of our plan”

“This action was by others who have come out and used this opportunity to hijack a peaceful protest.”


The words of the three speakers at the rally got lost in the action outside Millbank Tower, here is a summary:

Aaron Porter, President of the NUS, said: “We’re in the fight of our lives […] we face an unprecedented attack on our future before it has even begun.””They’re proposing barbaric cuts that would brutalise our colleges and universities.” He urged students to resist this “miserable vision”.

“This is just the beginning […] the resistance begins here.”

Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, said: “This is about turning our colleges and universities from places of learning and opportunity into finishing schools for the rich.”

“Don’t dare tell us we’re all in this together, because the bankers have been let off scot free.”

Sally Hunt the General Secretary for UCU led the crowd in a chant of  ‘you say Tory, we say scum’


Reports have come in that the protestors from UCU carrying the UCU banner never actually made it to the rally point, but were stuck in Whitehall.


The NUS and NUS president, Aaron Porter, have both tweeted to condemn the actions of those outside Millbank.

NUSUK: Disappointed to see a few people at Millbank undermine the actions of 50000 others #demo2010

Aaron Porter: Proud of the 50,000 students who have come to protest peacefully. Shame on those who are here to cause trouble. #demo2010


We have just received our first photo from outside Millbank from our reporter Germaine:


Some quotes from the demonstrators outside Millbank, a lecturer from Brunel University who did not want to be named said, “It doesn’t help, not in anyone’s favour.” While Luke Durigan, a student of University College London said: “It is sending out a message.” Johanna Daiton from Leeds University agrees with him, “It is the only way of getting our message across.”


Sam continues: “Some protestors have just got onto the roof with black and red banners, there is a buzz in the crowd.”


Our reporter Sam: “Things are being thrown, anything to hand. I can hear chants of ‘break it down’ outside the building.”

“A sound system has appeared from nowhere at Millbank. A few more people just got into the building. Windows are definitely broken now.”


Sorry for the delay there were some technical issues with the website. We have received some reports regarding the protest outside Millbank Tower, the Conservative HQ:

Germaine: “I have seen three windows cracked, people were piling placards up in front of the doors and then set fire to them.”

Sam: “Police are putting on riot gear, atmosphere is getting more tense, sporadic attacks on windows. I would describe the atmosphere as ‘rowdy’.”


Sam Foster reports: “Frances O’Grady is now speaking, she has revitalised the mood as it was getting a bit sombre.”


Here are some more pictures from Germaine:


The Guardian are reporting that 200 people have gained entry to the Conservative HQ at Millbank leading to an evacuation of office workers.


Some estimates are putting the numbers at the demonstration as far in excess of the 24,000 the NUS were originally reporting.


Our reporter Sam: “Sally Hunt of the UCU has said ‘education is a right, not a privilege and the government can’t take that away.’ A video of Nick Clegg is being booed in earnest.

“Ms. Hunt just asked for everyone to jump, but id did not last very long, lethargy to blame I think.”


Here are some more pictures to show that highlight the how sunny it is down there, again from reporter Michael Northcott:


As we haven’t had any for a while, here are some more pictures from the lens of Germaine:


The rally at Millbank, outside the Tate Britain is set to include speeches from Aaron Porter, NUS President; Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary and Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC. See the NUS website for pre-march comments from both Mr. Porter and Ms. Hunt.


Seb continues: “Demo is at the rally site, quite a sight watching it arrive, definitely not enough room though!”


Our reporter Seb: “The noise is building as we move down Millbank. I can see people gathering around a flare.”


Here are some more pictures of people on the march, again thanks to Germaine:


Seb reports that students tried to stage a sit in the street outside Parliament: “but the stewards moved them on and the march continues.”


The march has arrived at Westminster. Sam reports: “We have just arrived at the Houses of Parliament and the anti-government chants are out in force, with Nick Clegg coming off particularly badly.”


There is a bigger police presence as the numbers continue to swell:


Seb reports: “Positive attitudes from everyone at the moment, disabled students are at the front of the march, leading the way.”

“Puppets, samba and a brass band as well as plenty of banners and interested onlookers, make for a carnival atmosphere.”


Here is another photo, again the work of Germaine:


The march was supposed to march past the Houses of Parliament at 12.30, and then convene for a rally at 1.15 at Millbank, one of our reporters says that the crowd is moving towards Westminster from Trafalgar Square, but those timings may be a little out.


Here are some photos of the demonstration, from the camera of reporter Germaine:


Reporter Sam sums up the mood of the placards – ‘R.I.P Education’ and ‘Priced Out’.


Our reporter Seb reckons there are over 1000 students joining their section of the march, with students from King’s College about to join them. Estimates for the number of potential marchers once the demonstrations hits Whitehall are 20,000-30,000.


Not everyone is happy with the march. Reporter Sam has been talking to Matt Carnovale, a Politics and Economics student from LSE who said that the march was: “Petty whining, fees should be a lot more.”


According to reporter Seb, the numbers must be hitting 500 plus as they move towards the London School of Economics (LSE), the number of police is also growing.


Our reporter, Sam Foster, has been talking to Bob Bowen, 80, who has been caught up in the march. He said: “I support it, they are not doing any harm.” The photo below is from reporter Mike Northcott.


Here are a few more pictures, all from the lens of reporter Germaine Arnold. Including one of the effigy in the post from 11.00.


Another reporter, Seb Wheeler has an update: “Everyone seems to have navigated the trains fine but the next obstacle seems to be the acquirement of coffee!”


One of our reporters, Nali Sivathasan, has been talking to Ren Aldridge a first year Fine Art student from Goldsmiths, who has created an effigy of David Cameron which she will hang up along the route of the march.


Goldsmiths activists are assembling outside Charing Cross, 100 there and more to come.


Our reporters are currently winging their way towards Charing Cross. here is a photo courtesy of reporter Germaine Arnold by the way.


Seb Wheeler is another one of our reports who is at London Bridge station ready to move to Charing Cross and then the London School of Economics to meet more students. Then it is on to Trafalgar Square to meet up with yet more arts students.

“How many students does it take to start a revolution? Not sure, they are all queuing to top up their Oyster Cards at the minute!”


A report yesterday in the Evening Standard shows why many are participating in the demonstration today.


James Haywood, Communications and Campaigns officer for Goldsmiths Student Union, has just made a speech to the gathering crowd:

‘This is a crazily high turn out for students at 10.30 in the morning! But we have a serious fight on our hands so I am glad to see so many of you.”


Tony Abse, a lecturer in history at Goldsmiths says he wants to “trigger the Lib Dem conscience and split the coalition. Although that may be being a bit ambitious.”

While Taylor Bentley an undergraduate at Goldsmiths studying English is marching because she thinks that a rise in tuition fees would be “a travesty”.

“It shouldn’t have to be a scrabble. I love my degree and I am at university because I want to be and that is the way it should be.”


Some early quotes from outside Goldsmiths, where students are meeting up to travel to Westminster. Sam Foster, one our reporters:

“There must be 150-200 people here now, lots of placards and whistles, people seem really up for this.”


Hello and welcome to ELL’s coverage of the NUS/UCU ‘Fund our future’ demonstration. If you missed the preview from yesterday you can check that out here.

We will be following the march via Twitter and all of the tweets will also be present under the tag #demo2010

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