December 9th day of action against cuts and fees

Middlesex University.

Tens of thousands of school and university students will walk out of class again today another national day of action against cuts and tuition fees.

Protests have seen demonstrations across the country with occupations at universities, council buildings and political party offices across the UK. More action is predicted to happen as a result of today's day of action.

Reports of police violence and attempted 'kettling' are not expected to put off protesters. Students will likely be joined by others also affected by the austerity measures such as members of the RMT, who are thought to be having a block on the student demonstration on Parliament.

We will update this page regularly as the day develops. Please post local reports in the comments below.

- The day of action on the 9th has had a long run up, with several universities such as Leeds and UCL going into their second or third week of occupation, and new occupations starting at several universities including Goldsmiths. This was also the first time that schools began occupations, with a 24 hour sit-in/teach-in at Camden School for Girls, and another one at Acland Burghley in Camden - mixed reports about what actually happened since the school was apparently closed for the afternoon, but occupiers went in anyway. We have an unconfirmed report of a sit-in at Stoke Newington school, Londonist reported that Islington Sixth Form college was closed all day Wednesday after management heard about student plans for an occupation in advance.

- 12:20pm Several thousand congregating around ULU and Trafalgar Square. Over 1,000 police on duty. 'Rolling kettle forming at ULU, 70 TSG in front' According to @ucloccupation

- 12:30pm Debate starts in parliament, early day motions all ignored by the speaker, so the vote is on in about 5 hours. Hopefully the almost inevitable yes vote may be just the start of the anti cuts movement.

- 12:35pm @directreaction: Police try to stop LSE and Kings students marching over Waterloo bridge. Many break through. Situation already very tense.

- 12:40pm Police have blocked the march at Malet Street according to @ucloccupation

- 12:49pm UCL Occupation has started a live map of the protests with particular attention to police deployments.

- 12:52pm Several people on twitter describe being 'kettled by socialists giving speeches', sounds about right for the Labour left and SWP, let them go!

- 13:13pm @PennyRed "Omg the kids just charged through the line. I can see police beating kids."

- 13:15pm First sighting in the UK of Italian-style literary riot shields http://lsjsn.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/polestyrene-books-13-00.jpg

- 13:25pm @ncloccupation 20 protesters stormed meeting with Newcastle Vice Chancellor.

- 13:26pm - Parliament Square sealed off.

- 13:34pm - Guardian reports that "three protesters have just been ejected from the public gallery in the Commons because they were chanting slogans."

- 13:45pm - LSJSN blog post this youtube video from Trafalgar Square:

- 13:50pm London protest reaches Parliament square.

- 14:23pm Protesters kettled in parliament square, which had previously been declared off limits. Six horses arrived in one corner, fences are being pushed against, six lines deep of riot police behind.[/b]

- 14:35 BBC helicopter shows three metal barriers being carried over the heads of protesters towards police lines.

- 14:45pm People blocking traffic on Vauxhall bridge.

- 14:54 Line of students has formed a human shield to prevent mounted police entering parliament square.

- 14:59 Newcastle Occupation has published photos from the protest there - lots of people, lots of mounted police.

- 15:03 Photo of fences being torn down at parliament square within the past hour.
- 15:33 Police hitting protesters with batons, someone in a wheelchair dragged behind police lines, @PennryRed reports that one of the Guardian's journalists was "beaten bloody" with a baton. Lots of paint thrown at the police. Around Holborn several students with large books trying to push back police lines.

- 15:38pm Horse charge outside Westminster Abbey - caught on BBC News 24.

- 16:30pm Wheelchair user dragged from wheelchair (and then to the ground according to the Guardian) by the police - http://twitpic.com/3ed5tq

- 16:56pm Very large bonfire lit in Parliament square.

- 17:42pm Vote passed, 21 majority.

- 18:09pm What looks like a baton charge by 30-odd police in parliament square visible on the BBC helicopter footage, no mention of it at all in the commentary.

Posted By

Ed
Dec 9 2010 10:00

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Auto
Dec 9 2010 21:15

You know, recently I watched a youtube video of the news broadcasts the evening after the poll tax riots. It was 'anarchists' wot dun it back then, as well.

Boris Badenov
Dec 9 2010 21:27

basically the entire UK media, from what I can tell, are still trying, despite reality, to enforce the dichotomy of peaceful majority vs. violent minority, 'anarchists' being of course the obvious choice to describe the latter group, regardless of politics.

playinghob
Dec 9 2010 21:30
Quote:
mateofthebloke wrote:
we all know it was the ICC though

Well I can vouch for the fact that 300 of the 'Revolt in universities, colleges, schools: A beacon for the whole working class' were distributed in parliament square, so maybe you are correct!

Steven.
Dec 9 2010 21:30

Just got back - went down to the London demonstrations after work.

By the time I got there you couldn't get into Parliament Square, a friend inside told me there were maybe 5000 people kettle the inside. I was on Whitehall with a group of 500 people, a lot of 16 to 18 year old kids, some older people, RMT etc.

They were stopped by a pretty solid police line.

After a while a group of kids started heading up towards Trafalgar Square shouting "to the West End!", and pretty much got everyone to follow them, running at quite a fast pace. Few police vans screech to head to try to head people off. Unfortunately, the crowd got split by a big group of people climbing up on to Nelson's column and starting chanting. Then a lot of people followed them, so they were basically kettling themselves. A fair few people had grabbed building materials up Whitehall, but when the crowd got diverted into Trafalgar Square, they just all threw them into the fountains. A bit of a waste!

Then a bunch of kids went up to the giant Christmas tree and started trying to pull it down. A line of riot police came down from the National Gallery, looking like they were going to try to defend the tree! But then the kids gave up.

A breakaway of about 200 then went up Charing Cross Road, pretty lively, blocking roads then went onto Oxford Street, with no police around. Then I came home.

In related news, looks like someone at the government wants to embarrass the NUS, as e-mails have been leaked from the NUS supporting massive cuts in education:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/8190379/National-Union-of-Students-secretly-urged-Government-to-make-deep-cuts-in-student-grants.html

Hilarious about Prince Charles!

Auto
Dec 9 2010 21:32

Well I think they just don't want people to realise that sometimes people get angry and do shit.

Though I personally think the false dichotomy is beginning to crack for some people. I'm getting the same feeling tonight as I had when Millbank got put in...

bricolage
Dec 9 2010 21:59

I swear the wombles haven't really existed for years yet this still get blamed? hilarious.

Ellar
Dec 9 2010 22:37

"Thousands and thousands of young people, workers and lecturers have been kettled for 6 hours and up in Parliament Square and now on Westminster Bridge for more than an hour. No access to toilets, water or food. It is very cold. Please spread and disseminate this message."

I just got this text from a friend, I wasn't sure what to do, I THOUGHT MORE EXPERIANCED COMRADES Might be able to spread it better.

bricolage
Dec 9 2010 23:30

they were letting people out of the kettle earlier one by one, I got out then at about 8. If things started kicking off again though it doesn't surprise me that they closed it.

ernie
Dec 9 2010 23:44

On newsnight they interviewed a couple of the occupiers at LSE clearly in an effort to get them to condemn the "violence" but they would not and said the violence came from the police. The reporter clear felt that all that mattered in this assignment was to find someone to condemn "the violence".
They also had a studio discussion between Wiilets and three students, who shredded his pathetic efforts to say this attacks is really something good for the plebs if only they would understand. Again the reporter tried to get one of the students to denounce "the violence" but she came back with the story of her friend ending up in hospital with a fractured clavicle after being crushed under police barriers.

Ed
Dec 9 2010 23:57

Some cracking videos of the day.. the first won probably wins first place though the third one probably comes close due to journos skateboarding helmet.. smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRKcPZt61SQ&feature=channel

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11960242

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11962910

Joseph Kay
Dec 10 2010 00:42

in the second one she keeps talking about "provoked attacks" on police. accidental honesty!

Mike Harman
Dec 10 2010 01:26

Still hundreds of people kettled on Westminster bridge, 1.30am there now: http://twitpic.com/3egl3y

Mark.
Dec 10 2010 01:38
Mark.
Dec 10 2010 01:51

A quote on the kettling from the Guardian live coverage

Quote:
We were forced back all the way back up to the corner of Whitehall and Parliament Square where the police were flanking us on all sides and at one side it was kicking off. They then proceeded to push us all together forcing us 'back' 'back' back' – until we had nowhere to go. I saw people being directly punched in the head by police and hit using the edge of riot shields. We were squeezed tightly together, funnelled into a gap between police vans and a wall. The police didn't seem to know where they were pushing us. People were getting crushed against walls and having to scramble over them and climb up onto ledges of the surrounding buildings to escape the surges of the crowd.

They held us there for another hour, while the crowd just got more tightly packed and panicked. The atmosphere got pretty ugly and desperate at that point. People were crying and really getting hurt. It felt like if something, like the meshed netting over a basement drop I was forced to climb up on, caved in, a very serious situation indeed could easily have been created, initiated by the police behaviour.

Finally, after hours of containment they released the kettle and at about 6.30pm allowed people to leave in small groups.

Mike Harman
Dec 10 2010 07:32

Police batoning and kicking someone on the ground:

Mike Harman
Dec 10 2010 08:35

Guardian video following Birmingham and Westminster Kingsway students for the day: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/video/2010/dec/10/student-fees-protest-london-video

Auto
Dec 10 2010 09:02

So... what now?

Mike Harman
Dec 10 2010 09:15

Another video of police whacking people with batons and riot shields - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyXJyuEHQxA

Seems like people were more prepared for this to happen than last time, so more cameras (or may just up on services quicker).

As to what next, I'm wondering how many occupations will continue into next week, whether new ones will start up this week etc. That's probably the first indication of what might happen.

There's an EMA protest next week, and also the benefits and housing day of action. It's been so confusing the past couple of weeks that it's obvious most people were focused on yesterday.

It's hard to tell from here whether people on the protests were hoping for a 'victory' yesterday and went home disappointed/ feeling resigned, or were expecting it and are now even angrier.

Ed
Dec 10 2010 09:16

Surely there has to be another day of action called soon.. like in France during the CPE, the protests actually really got going once the law was actually passed. I think this is the really 'make or break' moment for the movement..

The most important thing for me though is that (if the reform does stay) students don't just see it as 'us losing' and then back out from the political arena. The obvious strategy that the government will have for pushing through these cuts will be 'one sector at a time' and it'll be important that school and uni students can be mobilised in support of others in the near future. I was thinking that a day of action on the same day as a tube strike, for instance, would completely paralyse London. Now that would be an interesting development (even if it does seem a bit far off now..

Auto
Dec 10 2010 10:53

Someone a couple of weeks back was asking what good the occupations were - now I think I see where they have a useful role. A lot of the media is talking to them as student-representative bodies instead of the NUS (1922-2010, RIP). They are a) forming pockets of organisation for the continuity of protest and b) possibly facilitating/cementing a change in mood by refusing to 'condemn the violence' as the NUS would have undoubtedly done.

These are interesting times. Currently the news is dominated by reactionary opinion... but we'll see what happens if more news of protestor injuries/police attacks come to light...

Spartacus
Dec 10 2010 11:00

excellent feed here, i'm sure i'm not the only one finally feeling that i was born 10 years too early rather than too late...

couple of videos of protesters pushing back against police:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHBjb4CqZzg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkS4zhX9AIg

what are the feelings people get from those not directly connected to protests (at work etc.)? while i was home most people seemed pretty supportive, my dad who was never particularly pro-property destruction during the anti-summit protest era seemed to think it was brilliant that students had smashed millbank and pissed in clegg's letterbox, is that a general thing?

Mark.
Dec 11 2010 17:31

Another article from the Independent

'Violence is OK if that's what it takes to make our mark'

I was going to put up a link to yesterday's Newsnight on BBC iplayer but it still says 'coming soon'. I wonder if or when they'll make it available.

Edit: Newsnight on iplayer. I think it will only be viewable in the UK.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 11:17
Spartacus wrote:
what are the feelings people get from those not directly connected to protests (at work etc.)? while i was home most people seemed pretty supportive, my dad who was never particularly pro-property destruction during the anti-summit protest era seemed to think it was brilliant that students had smashed millbank and pissed in clegg's letterbox, is that a general thing?

From the people I know, there's the usual right wingers buying the Daily Mail spin on things... but to be honest I feel they're in the minority. It seems to me that most people, while not glad about the violence, are at the same time not really condemning it. I think things are yet to sink in.

And from my friends who are still students? There seems to be a building anger rather than a sense of defeat... increasingly aimed at the media coverage. I don't think it's just me being optimistic anymore... I think there might actually be a sea-change occurring.

Mark.
Dec 10 2010 11:35

Guardian: Police tactics at tuition fees protest questioned after further angry clashes

Quote:
Then as night fell they were shepherded on to Westminster Bridge. Zoe Walsh, 22, a student at Warwick University, said: "We were kettled on the bridge from 9.30 until 11pm. They said they would let us out over the bridge, but then kettled us in on both ends. It was really, really tight, absolutely freezing, there was no space, basically.

"Everyone waited quietly. They wouldn't give us any information on when we'd get off – one policeman said, 'I'm not allowed to tell you anything' when I asked how long it'd be."

Gabriel Lukes, 14, left Dunraven school in south London on his own to join in the march. He was kettled in Parliament Square before being moved to Westminster Bridge just after 9pm. He stood alone for two hours before being allowed off at 11pm. His father Peter was waiting for him. "It was cold, cramped, you had like half a metre to yourself," he said. "It was just terrible."

Bernard Goyder, 19, a history student at Soas, said: "We were penned in on both sides of the bridge by police in full riot gear. I would estimate there were at least 200 on either side, kettling a crowd of well over a thousand. They finally let us out at about 11.10pm, but we had to walk out in single file past a line of police – I think they were looking to identify people they'd spotted earlier and grab them.

"The conditions on the bridge were atrocious. There were no toilet facilities, and we were held there for two hours with about as much space as in a crowded lift.

"I think it's a form of collective punishment by the police. I overheard one say it served us right for the trouble we'd caused earlier.

"I think people are still being kettled at Trafalgar Square. This is a travesty of democracy."

Jenre
Dec 10 2010 11:50
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
Someone on the guardian live blog is claiming the demo was attacked by fascists, anyone know anything about it?

i saw this from one protester on twitter:
"About 20 chanting #edl etc outside kettle by Wminster Abbey/QEII centre. Now telling a "student slag","fuck off to your own country"
and...
"Chant "I'd rather be a Tory than a student" #edl class traitors #day3x"

Mark.
Dec 10 2010 11:54

...that quote from the guardian live blog

Quote:
I just got home after attending the embers of the protest at the end of Victoria Street. While there I got chatting to a 17year-old girl. A while later a group of people who I believe to be neo-Nazis turned up and started causing trouble. They were trying to start on an old man of about 60. A policeman calmed him down. They then started picking on this girl. They all started to scream "Cunt!" at her and she called them this back. The group (about 12-15) walked up to her in a very menacing way. We backed off towards the police and then one of the group pushed the girl violently in the head, causing her to fall down on her back. I pulled her away to the police and asked for help. Two of them smirked at each other and one said: "You wanted free speech." They then continued to watch as the neo-Nazis caused trouble. This occurred at around 7pm.
Mark.
Dec 10 2010 12:42

Demo against Cameron in Leeds?

http://twitter.com/GdnLeeds

Quote:
PM Cameron arrives in Harehills, Leeds to hot reception from waiting protesters. Boos and chants of 'scum scum scum' from anti-cuts crowd
14 minutes ago via HootSuite

http://twitter.com/search?q=%23studentcutsharehills

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 12:57

Seeing the youth who described himself and his mates as 'scum from the ghetto' was most impressive, that and the postcode tags left on the Treasury (N.16, N.14 and W.6) -offering a wider prospect of working class revolt, especially how the postcode divisions are the basis of a territorial fragmentation...It was a joy to hear "Off with their heads" as the crowd laid into Charlie and Camilla's hearse...

One thing that did the rounds on Twitter which surely added to the rage on the streets was the guy being pulled from his wheel chair (and beaten according to some tweets at the time)-

http://www.rstewart.org/2010/12/10/disabled-journalist-pulled-from-wheelchair-by-riot-police/