Thousands of demonstrators descended on London yesterday in a new round of protests against the removal of the EMA, the forthcoming rise in tuition fees and cuts to education funding.
The demonstration was largely a peaceful one, and there were few confrontations. There was no repeat of controversial ‘kettling’ techniques to contain students, which had been used during last year’s demonstrations.
Instead, the police distributed leaflets to the crowds outlining the nature of policing operations, while some students made use of mobile phone applications to coordinate activities and avoid problems.
Matt West, Campaign Coordinator from Goldsmiths College Student Union, stressed the importance of the protest: “If the Government does not change its position we are going to see a lost generation. A generation that will have living standards worse than the one their parents enjoyed. They are going to have to work hard and scrape by in order to survive.”
When asked whom he held responsible for this outcome, he pointed up at the tower behind him: “We are still outside Millbank at the moment and I think the Tory government is responsible. In the Tory government we have a group of people completely out of touch with how the man on the street lives.”
A third year student from York University hoped that yesterday’s boisterous but largely well natured protest would send out the right message: “I think that by coming here we can show that we are angry, but we also have constructive ideas which I think hopefully will give a message of hope to the people.”
As the main protest died down, some students showed their solidarity for protesters in Egypt and joined a demonstration against President Mubarak outside the Egyptian Embassy.
By early evening, the Metropolitan Police had advised of six arrests in London – a fraction of the total on previous occasions. The National Union of Students also held a demonstration in Manchester yesterday.
Video by Shiliu Peng