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London - Tens of Thousands of UK Students Protest Tuition Fees Hike

Published on: November 10, 2010 12:11 PM
By: AP
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Thousands of protesting students gather outside the headquarters of Britain's Conservative Party in London, Wednesday Nav. 10, 2010, in a demonstration against plans to increase tuition fees and cut university funding. Organizers claimed that 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters were demonstrating against plans to raise the cost of studying to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year - three times the current rate.(AP Photo/Sang Tan)Thousands of protesting students gather outside the headquarters of Britain's Conservative Party in London, Wednesday Nav. 10, 2010, in a demonstration against plans to increase tuition fees and cut university funding. Organizers claimed that 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters were demonstrating against plans to raise the cost of studying to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year - three times the current rate.(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

London - Tens of thousands of students marched through London on Wednesday against plans to triple university tuition fees, and violence erupted as a minority battled police and trashed a building containing the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party.

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Organizers said 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters demonstrated against plans to raise the cost of studying at a university to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year — three times the current rate — in the largest street protest yet against the government’s sweeping austerity measures.

As the march passed a high-rise building that houses Conservative headquarters, some protesters smashed windows as others lit a bonfire of placards outside the building.

Office workers were evacuated as several dozen demonstrators managed to get into the lobby, scattering furniture, smashing CCTV cameras, spraying graffiti and chanting “Tories Out,” while outside police faced off against a crowd that occasionally hurled food, soda cans and placards.

“We are destroying the building just like they are destroying our chances of affording higher education,” said Corin Parkin, 20, a student at London’s City University.

The violence appeared to be carried out by a small group as hundreds of others stood and watched. Anarchist symbols and the words “Tory scum” were spray-painted around the building, and black and red flags flew from atop an office block beside the 29-story Millbank Tower.

Rooftop protesters threw down water, paper — and in one case a fire extinguisher, to boos from the crowd below.

Police said eight people, a mix of protesters and police officers, were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

The Metropolitan Police said, “A small minority of protesters have taken it upon themselves to cause damage to property, whilst the vast majority have peacefully made their point.”

Nearby, the headquarters of Britain’s MI5 spy agency, Thames House, was sealed with heavy metal doors as police guarded the rear exits.

Organizers condemned the violence. Sally Hunt, general secretary of faculty group the University and College Union, said “the actions of a minority, out of 50,000 people, is regrettable.”

Elsewhere, protesters were peaceful but determined.

“I am here because it is important that students stand up and shout about what is going on,” said Anna Tennant-Siren, a student at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.

“Politicians don’t seem to care,” she said. “They should be taking money from people who earn seven-figure salaries, not from students who don’t have any money.”

Frances O’Grady, of the Trades Union Congress, said the hike would make colleges “no-go zones for young people from ordinary backgrounds.”

“This is about turning colleges and universities from learning institutions into finishing schools for the rich,” she said.

Britain’s Liberal Democrats, who are part of the coalition government with the Conservatives, pledged during the country’s election campaign to abolish fees.

Protest leaders said they would attempt to use recall powers to oust lawmakers who break campaign promises on the issue.

The National Union of Students said it would try to recall legislators from the party who vote in favor on the hike.

“We will not tolerate the previous generation passing on its debts to the next, nor will we pick up the bill to access a college and university education that was funded for them,” said union President Aaron Porter.

Police and demonstrators confront each other in the foyer of the Conservative Party headquarters building during a protest in central London November 10, 2010. Students demonstrating against higher tuition fees burned placards, scuffled with riot police and smashed windows at the headquarters of Britain's governing Conservative party on Wednesday.    REUTERS/Toby MelvillePolice and demonstrators confront each other in the foyer of the Conservative Party headquarters building during a protest in central London November 10, 2010. Students demonstrating against higher tuition fees burned placards, scuffled with riot police and smashed windows at the headquarters of Britain's governing Conservative party on Wednesday.  REUTERS/Toby Melville

While British tuition fees are modest compared to those at some U.S. colleges, British universities are public institutions. Opponents of the tuition increase have pointed out that Prime Minister David Cameron and other members of the government attended elite universities such as Oxford and Cambridge at a time when university education was free.

The previous Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced the first fees for students soon after it was elected in 1997. Scotland abolished tuition fees in 2000, and in the rest of Britain the cost is capped at about 3,000 pounds ($4,800) a year.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government plans to triple that and cut funding to universities as it strives to slash 81 billion pounds ($128 billion) from public expenditure over the next four years.


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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM Aryeh Says:

Welfare state - farewell. If the state can't afford it, the students will need to pay for it. They still have student loans in Britain.

2

 Nov 10, 2010 at 12:43 PM Anonymous Says:

how many of these were Arab & Muslims? Does England already regret their open borders?

3

 Nov 10, 2010 at 12:54 PM kollelfaker Says:

europe is bankrupt because of socialism free health care early retirement there is no money they need to do what we do aswell cut spending and stop the give away state we are in riots or not

4

 Nov 10, 2010 at 01:50 PM GB_Jew Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

how many of these were Arab & Muslims? Does England already regret their open borders?

“ how many of these were Arab & Muslims?"

- A very small proportion.

"Does England already regret their open borders? ”

- The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland now has a very strict immigration policy in force - as many potential American yungerleit have found out to their cost. It's not so easy for foreigners, including US passport holders, to get into Britain. Her Majesty has become very choosy about the quality of who she allows into her lands.

The UK has many "Arabs and Muslims" who were born in the country - just as the USA has many Jews who were born there, too.

5

 Nov 10, 2010 at 02:18 PM itchemeir Says:

Whenever GB has problems, I chuckle with delight. I can never forgive them for how they handled our brothers in the years before the State of Israel was established [despite all their efforts to prevent it by giving the Arabs free hand to do as they pleased.} HOw many members of the Irgun they hanged!! It is a country I pledged long ago never to set foot into.

6

 Nov 10, 2010 at 02:36 PM Glassman Says:

To #4 Most yidden are decendant from European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Germany, slovakia etc. They can get an EU Passport and go live and work in The U.K.

7

 Nov 10, 2010 at 03:36 PM SF2K1 Says:

UK tuition isn't anywhere near US tuition. That they protest over the hike is pretty laughable.

8

 Nov 10, 2010 at 04:12 PM Wiznitzer Says:

To #7 correct. UK tuition is probably the cheapest anywhere.

9

 Nov 10, 2010 at 05:17 PM GB_Jew Says:

Reply to #6  
Glassman Says:

To #4 Most yidden are decendant from European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Germany, slovakia etc. They can get an EU Passport and go live and work in The U.K.

Er, no, you are wrong R' Glassman.

Do you really think that, if the British will not admit United States citizens to work or study without visas they are really going to admit someone whose zaida's, booba's sister's uncles wet nurse came from Poland in 1893?

10

 Nov 10, 2010 at 06:40 PM JosephUK Says:

Reply to #5  
itchemeir Says:

Whenever GB has problems, I chuckle with delight. I can never forgive them for how they handled our brothers in the years before the State of Israel was established [despite all their efforts to prevent it by giving the Arabs free hand to do as they pleased.} HOw many members of the Irgun they hanged!! It is a country I pledged long ago never to set foot into.

Yes like every country the UK has negative parts of its history. But the UK allowed more Jews into its borders than any other country during the war. Ask the Kindertransport Jews, if they are grateful or not for the existence of Great Britain. And despite everything, the UK is still a country were a person can live a Torah life in total freedom. Feel free not to set foot here, but I plead with you to open your mind, and not judge everything so simplistically.

11

 Nov 10, 2010 at 06:56 PM JosephUK Says:

Reply to #5  
itchemeir Says:

Whenever GB has problems, I chuckle with delight. I can never forgive them for how they handled our brothers in the years before the State of Israel was established [despite all their efforts to prevent it by giving the Arabs free hand to do as they pleased.} HOw many members of the Irgun they hanged!! It is a country I pledged long ago never to set foot into.

Perhaps if these students spent as much time studying as they do drinking and partying, they might learn enough to qualify them to work in a job that would earn them sufficient money to pay back any fees incurred. Then again as most universities here offer pointless courses such as "sport studies" and the like, most of the students will end up working in fast-food outlets, and then they will not have to pay anything towards their fees, as they only have to pay back if they earn over £20,000 a year. And in the mean time while the majority of young people are wasting their time in university, we have to import an army of Eastern Europeans to be our plumbers and electricians. A warning America; European style (or even British style) socialism doesn't work. Thank goodness there are real places of education still present in our country; Oxford, Cambridge and Gateshead Yeshiva!

12

 Nov 10, 2010 at 08:38 PM Glassman Says:

To #9 GB Jew. The great majority of(Ashkenaz) Jews who descend from European Jewry, their parents or grandparents left Europe after WW2. My father left Hungary 60 years ago and I had no problem getting a Hungarian passport and then settling in the U.K., even though I have never been to Hungary. A yingerman that I know, whose grandfather came from Poland did exactly the same, even though neither he or his parents have never been to Poland. And there are many who have done it or doing it.

13

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