Tuition fees protests

Students bring chaos to capital

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Protesters angered by proposals to increase university tuition fees brought violence and chaos to the streets once again tonight.

Tens of thousands of students were joined by lecturers and parents during a national day of action against the controversial changes.



Organisers said the marches, occupations and sit-ins were an opportunity for protesters to make their voices heard peacefully.



But Westminster bore the brunt of lawlessness a fortnight after the Millbank riot as two police officers and 11 people were injured.



At least 15 protesters were arrested for offences including violent disorder, theft and criminal damage as barriers were thrown and fires lit in the street.



The clashes centred around a stranded police van that was ransacked and looted a short distance from the entrance to Downing Street.



Police were forced to "kettle" hundreds of protesters for around four hours a short distance from the Houses of Parliament as tensions ran high.



The tactic was widely criticised after around 5,000 people were penned in outside the Bank of England during the G20 protests last year.



Thousands also joined protest marches in Manchester, Liverpool and Brighton as pupils walked out of school in Winchester, Cambridge, Leeds and London.



Meanwhile students occupied buildings in Oxford, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bristol, Plymouth and in the capital.



Two protesters were arrested in Cambridge for obstruction, one in Liverpool for egg throwing and four in Manchester for public order offences and obstruction. Two people, a 15-year-old boy and 41-year-old man, were also arrested in Brighton.



In London, protesters had planned to demonstrate outside the Liberal Democrat headquarters, after leaders said they will break a pledge to abolish tuition fees.



Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended his uncomfortable new position during a visit to a south London school to mark the launch of the coalition's education White Paper.



He said: "What you will see is a system that will make access to university much much fairer than it is at the moment.



"It is simply outrageous, that more young people go from two private schools, Westminster and Eton, to Oxford and Cambridge, than thousands of youngsters who leave school every year.



"We want to change that. We want to make universities open and accessible to everyone, and that is why our reforms will mean that people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds will find it easier to go to university, cheaper to go to university."



Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said: "People obviously have a right to engage in lawful and peaceful protest, but there is no place for violence or intimidation."



The protests were dubbed Day X, with parents, teachers and trade unionists invited to join students at rallies organised by the Education Activist Network and campaign group Youth Fight For Jobs.



Senior officers deployed extra reserves in the capital today after police were caught off guard by an attack on the complex of buildings housing the Tory party headquarters on November 10.



The 50,000-strong demonstration resulted in 68 arrests so far and police continue to scour hours of video footage and thousands of photographs in a bid to identify those responsible for crimes.



Hampshire student Edward Woollard, 18, appeared in court today to admitted violent disorder after he was caught on camera dropping an empty fire extinguisher from a seventh floor rooftop.



Students were protesting against plans to increase tuition fees in England to £9,000 per year and to withdraw funding for university teaching budgets on many subjects.



The main protest march was stopped by lines of dozens of officers in Whitehall today before it could reach Parliament Square as around 10,000 people gathered in central London.



There were sporadic violent clashes as some demonstrators hurled missiles, climbed fencing and attempted to wrestle metal barriers from police as others set off fireworks.



The ugly scenes took place a stone's throw from 10 Downing Street and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) where Met boss Sir Paul Stephenson has been giving a speech on terrorism.



In other areas of Whitehall there was a party atmosphere, with students jumping up and down to dance music and holding a mass hokey cokey as helicopters hovered overhead.



The Metropolitan Police said a woman police officer suffered a broken hand and a male officer knocked unconscious on the fringe of the Whitehall people pen is being treated for leg injuries.

View the protest in pictures

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?