London protests: This time the anger did not spiral out of control
Thursday 25 November 2010
They weren't as numerous this time nor were they as successful; the minority of students who wanted to bring violence to central London became locked in battle of wills against a strengthened police presence they had little hope of defeating.
Ranks of officers, some on horseback, blocked the road as the protest entered Parliament Square at Westminster, quickly closing the area between the Square and the Cenotaph on Whitehall. Some students, realising they would not be able to reach Liberal Democrat HQ or Downing Street, their original targets, took out their frustrations on a police van parked in their midst.
The battle became one between peaceful protesters and those intent on trouble. One by one, their faces obscured by scarves, the latter climbed on the vehicle, smashing its windows and attempting to tip it over.
As people pushed forward to reach the stricken van, a group of schoolgirls linked their arms around it. The aggressors stepped back for a moment before some went on, hitting the windows around the girls with planks.
"Everyone is concentrating their attention on the van. They should be trying to get past the police to continue the protest, not getting distracted by this," said one 15-year-old girl.
On the front line, police drew batons but only charged once. As darkness fell, the students waited to be set free, some dancing or playing music.
In a moment of reflection, Tom Mayer, a 23-year-old student from Newcastle, questioned the motives of the violent factions. "I asked some of them if they intended to study. Most said no," he said.
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...