dailymail.co.uk/Police clash with student protestors as thousands march on Parliament Square and Tory party headquarters in anger over tuition fees and graduate debt

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  • Placard-waving students carry out day of demonstrations in central London in protest at rising tuition fees
  • But the protests turned violent when lines of demonstrators attacked police lines and hurled missiles
  • The Metropolitan Police say they have made two arrests after three officers were injured in the clashes
  • The worst violence came as a group of students tried to storm the Conservative Party headquarters
  • Police confirm that six people have been arrested following today’s protests across Westminster
  • Two were arrested for assaulting police, two for affray, a fifth for criminal damage and a sixth for violent disorder
  • Three police officers were injured in Parliament Square however none of them required hospital treatment
  • A Starbucks Coffee shop on Victoria Street was daubed with paint by a protestor who was arrested for the attack
  • Armed with a large wheelie bin, a group charged towards police who were guarding the entrance of the building, which is near Parliament Square.

    Soon after the protest started, a group of demonstrators broke away from the main march and tried to storm the Conservative Party headquarters building near Parliament Square.

    Demonstrators charged at a line of police officers with a large wheelie bin in a bid to for their way into the building.

    Thousands of students have been marching through central London in protest against tuition fees and debt.

    According to the Metropolitan Police, two people have been arrested on suspicion of assault police officers, while two more were arrested for affray. Three police officers in Parliament Square were injured but did not require hospital treatment.

    A fifth person was arrested on Victoria Street on suspicion of criminal damage to a commercial premises and possession of an offensive weapon. A sixth person was arrested for violent disorder.

    Police recived numerous reports of flares being used by a number of demonstrators during the protest which will form part of a post-incident investigation.

    A police spokesman said: ‘Shortly before 14:10hrs as part of the student march was passing through Parliament Square a number of protestors climbed barriers onto the pavement around the Square itself and challenged a small group of police officers.

    ‘Various missiles were thrown at the officers and protestors pulled down protective fencing around the grass area in Parliament Square. A large group of protestors walked onto and have occupied the grass area. The officers withdrew from the area. Three officers suffered minor injuries.’

    A breakaway group later attacked a nearby Starbucks coffee shop and threw chairs from another restaurant at police, witnesses said.

    Protestors chanted ‘one solution: revolution’ and taunted police by shouting ‘there are many, many more of us than you’ at police.

    The event brought large parts of the centre of the capital to a standstill with buses cancelled or re-routed while streets were closed off.

    Transport for London tweeted: ‘Buses around Holborn, Strand & Westminster are subject to curtail, diversion & delays due to Student March & Rally Demo from 1200-1600hrs’

    The demonstration began peacefully when student protestors gathered outside the University of London near Euston, before leaving to march through the capital shortly after noon.

    But after it reached the Houses of Parliament the atmosphere grew more hostile, and hundreds of police and riot officers were deployed in the area.

    Protestors tore down railings surrounding Parliament Square and took over the grass area, chanting in defiance over tuition fees and austerity cuts, while others wearing black bandanas let off flares as they marched through nearby streets.

    Demonstrators hurled orange paint over the entrance to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills before riot police formed a cordon.

    Customers were also trapped inside a Starbucks coffee shop after eggs and white paint were thrown over the front window.

    Riot police, some left covered in paint themselves, guarded the entrance as a group of demonstrators shouted abuse over the company’s alleged tax avoidance.

    Flower pots were also thrown at police and bins were knocked over and paint thrown at a McDonald’s restaurant.

    Tensions mounted when a man was arrested in Victoria Street, and angry crowds hurled abuse at officers and stormed after them as they led him away.

    A large group then held a sit-down demonstration outside New Scotland Yard, where they chanted against the police and the Tory Party. The students are opposed to the government’s programme of fees and privatisation in education.

    Beth Redmond, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, claimed: ‘Four years on from the election of the Coalition, it is clear that fees have failed.

    ‘Whole areas of higher and further education are now off limits to anyone without rich parents, and education workers are being squeezed, sacked and outsourced.

    ‘We are calling this demonstration to take the fight to the government and to demand a public education system that serves society and is free and accessible to everyone.’

    The army of student activists, led by the organisation Student Assembly Against Austerity, had gathered outside the University of London before marching towards Whitehall and the House of Commons.

    Hundreds carried placards and banners protesting against high fees, chanting ‘When they say cut back, we say fight back’, and ‘No ifs, no buts, no education cuts’.

    A samba band played, before leading the crowd through the streets of the capital, shouting and whooping. As the march began, some of the protestors lit flares.

    Organiser Aaron Kiely, from the Student Assembly Against Austerity and a member of the NUS national executive, said their message was very simple: a return to free education and an alternative to tuition fees.

    He said: ‘We want to end the lifetime of debt which is a massive burden for students.

    ‘Students are really angry because we go to university and then at the end of it we get an average of £40,000-worth of debt. That puts you in a hell of a difficult position when you start to think about a mortgage and a family. We need an alternative.

    Mr Kiely, 25, a third-year sociology and social policy student at London Metropolitan University, said he believes it would be possible to do away with tuition fees and reinstate free education through tax changes.

    He said other countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Finland, and last month Germany, had scrapped tuition fees for university students.

    Mr Kiely said: ‘There are many ways we can fund free education. We could go after tax avoiders, scrap the £100 million wasted on Trident nuclear weapons, reduce military funding which is way above the average in Europe, and education pays for itself – the economic benefits from having a highly-skilled, highly-educated workforce in a competitive global economy.’

    The protest comes six months before the general election and Mr Kiely said it should act as a warning to all the parties.

    Mr Kiely added: ‘Our message is for politicians, who in the run-up to the general election are desperately courting the votes of young people, students and parents.

    ‘Our demands are clear – we want politicians to scrap tuition fees, or we are going to scrap you at the next general election.’

    Students from Ireland, Scotland and Wales joined others from dozens of universities in England at the protest. Around 200 came from the University of Sussex and another 100 from Manchester, Mr Kiely said.

    As the march was due to begin, it emerged that the offices of the National Union of Students (NUS) – which is not supporting the action – had been vandalised.

    Graffiti, including the word ‘scab’, were daubed across the front doors of the union’s central London building. A spokeswoman said union officials did not know when the vandalism occurred.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2841077/Police-clash-student-protestors-thousands-march-Parliament-Square-Tory-party-headquarters-anger-tuition-fees-graduate-debt.html#ixzz3JXvbFuyD
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