Drums, music, chants and banners supported the thousands of students from education institutions across the country who had come to London to march against government cuts in education and the recent rise in tuition fees. The demonstration certainly added some colour and life to a dull day in the city.
On a cold, wet, rainy day you don’t expect many people to turn up but the weather certainly didn’t put anyone off. 'It’s cold, it’s wet and we're in loads of debt,' chanted students as they proudly displayed their homemade banners and placards. Lots of time and effort had clearly gone into their handiwork and they didn’t go unnoticed. Banners and signs could be seen for miles along the side of the Thames displaying their views and opinions. It was definitely a perfect photo opportunity.
The support from the general public and onlookers was also positive with people stopping to take photos, applaud and even join in with the demonstration. Police presence was as expected high but they got the crowd under control.
Students lined the streets of London proudly displaying their university colours making sure that their institution was represented. The route took people from Temple Place to Kennington Park passing iconic buildings such as Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. They have constantly shown their passion and determination at these events and many have spent their whole university career fighting to try and bring change.
One party had travelled through the night from Strathclyde University to make sure that their views were heard today. Even though the rally didn’t last all day, they wanted to make sure that they were there to represent their university at one of the biggest events of the year for students.
Everyone had a different story to tell which was definitely the most inspiring part of today. Students from far and wide had travelled to London to make sure that their stories were heard. Some were currently in college and hoping to attend university next year but were unsure how they could justify spending £9,000 on their degree. They wanted to know how they could get the money to pay it back when many graduates struggle to find work.
But it wasn’t just students demonstrating today, it was their parents and families too. I met one family from the North East of England who had travelled with their two young children to demonstrate. One of their children wasn’t old enough to attend school yet but they were at the forefront of the protest making sure their concerns were voiced.
They weren’t the only families there today, a lot are concerned for their child’s future. The demonstration has shown that the cuts will have an effect on more than just students. Many people attending the demonstration today were not only there to fight for a free education, but for their family’s future.
With the government’s plans to scrap EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) and the trebling of tuition fees, families are starting to wonder how they will fund their child through college and university. Some families don’t know what will happen when their child’s compulsory education ends.
Today’s demonstration has shown that students and their families are not willing to give up the fight. Students were definitely proud to be representing their institutions today and without causing too much of a disturbance.