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article imageStudent fee protest in England becomes violent

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 10, 2010 in Crime
London - Windows were smashed, missiles were thrown and banners were set on fire during a protest against plans to raise tuition fees and cut university funding in England.
It is estimated that between 30,000 people 50,000 people marched through Westminster to protest, but some stormed the building housing the Conservative Party head quarters, smashed windows and got on the roof. Riot police had to be called in during the day.
It appeared that people who were not part of the original protest, with their faces covered, showed up during the event to join in the destruction.
The BBC reported that, according to Scotland Yard, 10 people – including three police officers - were taken to hospitals in London for treatment, but that none were seriously injured.
"The police have largely established control of the building. They are gradually moving the crowd back, perhaps a metre every minute,” said BBC News correspondent Mike Sergeant, who was at the scene.
Emily Parks, a Manchester student who got onto the roof, said the event shows how angry people are.
"Why is our education being cut? Why are tuition fees going up here when in other parts people have free education?” she said told BBC News.
"People have felt the need to take matters into their own hands."
A car window was smashed outside of the Liberal Democrat headquarters.
Coach loads of students and lecturers had travelled to London for the demonstration.
President of the National Union of Students Aaron Porter called the violence despicable.
"This was not part of our plan," he said.
"This action was by others who have come out and used this opportunity to hijack a peaceful protest."
British students protesting education cuts in London
British students protesting education cuts in London
by selena sheridan
Liberal Democrat MPs made pre-election pledges to oppose any rise in tuition fees, but funding for higher education is now being cut by 40% and tuition fee increased have been proposed for 2012.
During Question Time in the Commons on Wednesday, the Labour Party’s Harrier Harman said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was "going along with a Tory plan - to shove the cost of higher education on to students and their families."
She twice asked him to specify the size of the cut to university teaching grants but he did not answer, instead attacking the Labour record on fees.
NUS president Aaron Porter said students will attempt to force a by-election in the constituencies of MPs who renege on the pledge to oppose hike, beginning with Clegg.
The Universities Minister David Willetts said the new system would be fairer than the present one because students would only have to pay back fees once they are earning £21,000 or more.
"This is the day a generation of politicians learn that though they might forget their promises, students won't,” the BBC quoted Oxford University Student Union President David Barclay as saying.
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