Protest at London police station over college arrests

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The Independent Online

Around 75 people gathered outside Holborn police station in London yesterday to protest the arrest of six people at another demonstration earlier in the day.

The protest at Holborn dispersed around 11.30pm. Witnesses said at least one person was arrested outside the station, but the Metropolitan Police could not confirm.

Police dogs were also present outside the police station.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed six people were arrested at an earlier demonstration following a "confrontation between police and protesters" at the School for African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), where the universities minister David Willetts was due to host a lecture.

The spokesperson said most of those detained were arrested for violent disorder.

Protesters accused the police of being heavy-handed at the SOAS demonstration, where "several hundred" had gathered to show opposition to the presence Mr Willetts – the minister behind the Government's controversial tuition fees reform.

"Several people were thrown to the floor and I was personally thrown down the stairs," said vice president of the University College London Union Sean Rillo Raczka.

Around 30 people managed to force their way into the foyer of the Brunei Theatre on the SOAS campus, where Mr Willetts was giving a lecture titled The Public Benefit from Science and Research.

The protest was organised by the SOAS students' union, who appealed for people who were against the Government's new tuition fee plans to attend.