News helicopters followed closely over 2,500 protestors as they marched through London. The demonstrators were made up of nearly a thousand students who were making a stand against the rise in tuition fees and the privatisation of some institutions. Almost 4,000 officers were on duty just in case there was a repeat of last year’s violence.
Police had already cleared a group of demonstrators who had set up tents in the Trafalgar Square area, the Occupy London protestors have already set tents near St Paul’s Cathedral so police nipped this attempt in the bud before it had the chance to escalate.
The protest last year of the introduction of the £9,000 fee limit took London by surprise when violence erupted in the City, to protect against such an event this time round the police had made stern warnings that they could potentially use plastic bullets in the most ’extreme cases’.
It has been reported that sticks and bottles were thrown at riot officers in the financial district, and Scotland Yard have revealed that 24 people have been arrested. Three were because of public order offences, one was because of an offensive weapon and three were for going equipped and 12 were made for breaches of peace.
This student march is the biggest protest in London since riots had shaken the capital to its core and wreaked havoc over other English cities during August, which left five people dead.
The march slowly made its way to the City of London where they were met by the protest against government greed which was taking place near St Paul’s Cathedral. Reporters had said that the march was the most tightly controlled one that London had ever seen with police providing no opportunity for protestors to break from the main pack.
The protest was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and it firmly against the government’s plans for a market-driven higher education system and the increase in tuition fees.
‘Scrap Tuition Fees’
Police and news helicopters were right on top of protestors as the thousands set off from Malet Street into London’s university district. Demonstrators were holding placards which had written on them ‘Scrap Tuition Fees’ and ‘Free Education’, there were also many chanting ‘no ifs, no buts, no education cuts’ and other slogans making a point over the police using baton rounds.
The protest was supported by the National Union of Students, but they had no part in the organisation. As the day drew to a close and dusk fell, a few hundred protestors made their way to the London Wall, the end point of the march.