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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Comments

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 13:09

NCAFAC had a press conference this morning as broadcast on Fox, sorry, Sky, saying that the movement was going to continue and refused to condemn any violence by the protesters (press gave them the most aggressive third degree questioning I've ever seen), but roundly slated the old bill. They mentioned the up-coming demo's and urged people to come to the London Student Assembly on Sunday, and for students to form their own assemblies nationwide with the aim of having a 'national one' next year, and then extending it across Europe (!) They also called on the NUS to support the student movement and for the TUC to call a General Strike..

-Gave a pretty good account of themselves, and didn't really claim to be speaking on behalf of the movement...Not sure just what each individuals politics are, but two were dissident members of the NUS NEC..doubtless there are trots in the mix tho'...

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 13:10

Oops, sorry it was actually the ULU lot!

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 10 2010 13:23
Incubus wrote:
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/

If it's the same guy, he was positioned remonstrating with riot cops by Westminster Abbey right before the first horse charge. We could see the mounteds preparing for about 2 mins behind police lines and we were screaming at the cops to not charge a guy in a wheelchair...

I think people are right to read quite a lot into this. I have never seen so many people quite so prepared to confront the cops and in such a decentralised, spontaneous fashion. I think it's worth noting that even the NCAFC (?) stewards couldn't persuade the demo to stay away from Parliament Square. Porter can bleat all he likes on the telly, but he's an irrelevance. A lot of students claim that we need to beseech him to support "us", but it really doesn't matter. His role in proceedings has now become a cameo.

I've always been pretty sceptical about the possibilities behind violent protest, but the last four student demos have quite clearly upped the ante on a national level and we're now talking about things which seemed absolutely inconceivable just a month ago, all because of a couple of smashed windows at Millbank.

jef costello
Dec 10 2010 13:37

Great video Ed, good to see that copper pulled from the horse and getting a kicking.
I think there must have been two kettles on Westminster Bridge then, I did wonder how they got us down to such small numbers so quickly, but I couldn't see a second group, just miles of police.
It was good to see a lot of people resisting shit from the police.

It's also amusing when they bich about people coming for trouble, they had masked riot cops up from the early hours of the morning.

Incidentally, I didn't get a picture but on one of the lines they had telescopic batons drawn, aren't those banned in crowd situations because they're even more dangerous than the ones they are allowed to attack people with.

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 13:39

Absolutely Caimen. Even the NUS/TUC 'vigil' fell apart with students and others bursting through the lines of private security (A company called SFM) so that they could march up to Parliament Sq. just two minutes round the corner...

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 13:41

Yes, riotcops from the start, but the march as a whole was stopped in it's tracks, which is why people split off in the first place...

jef costello
Dec 10 2010 13:46

It took the police ages to get open a treasury window to try to use the infrared camera (they used a hammmer in the end) it was got with a laser pen but I've no idea if that will damage it or just spoil a few pictures.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 13:47

I can't believe it's almost a month since Millbank...

Also: 'We are from the slums of London...', I never thought I'd hear anything like that at a British protest.

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 10 2010 13:51

Oh yeah, another consequence of yesterday is that Democracy Village is no more, lol.

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 13:55

I thought it was no longer legal to twat people on the head with a baton generally, without good justification, since the 70's, even during a riot...Maybe those who got randomly brained could use this to their advantage, but I know that since the state claims a monopoly of violence and that the old bill can pretty well get away with anything...an aquaintance of mine, (friend of a friend) goes out with a gay WPC, who claims that the cop that killed Ian Tomlinson, 'slipped'!!! Talk about lame self-delusion....

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 14:00

Apparently the treasury windows had to be nailed shut from the inside by Govt. security...hahaha, and to think with all those al quaida operatives around, natioanl security comes down to a claw hammer and a bag of six inch nails...anybody else spot a certain Mr.B on the frontline dressed to the nines? (You know who I mean, no names mentioned etc.) Bless him, the old fucker!!

Auto
Dec 10 2010 14:41

http://donnachadelong.info/2010/12/10/off-your-knees-comrades/

An NUJ journalist blogpost: 'A message to my fellow trade Unionists. Off your knees, comrades'.

First outright call to action I've seen from anyone inside the Trade Union movement.

Steven.
Dec 10 2010 14:45

he is an anarchist type, a syndicalist anyway. He has posted on libcom before under his real name.

Trade union people have been talking it big and militant for quite a while now though in general, especially people like Bob Crow, Matt Wrack, etc

Auto
Dec 10 2010 15:26

Rumour has appeared on Twitter saying the Rad Cam in Oxford is surrounded by police again 'they won't say what's going on'.

Any one heard anything about this?

Stranger Than P...
Dec 10 2010 15:27
Incubus wrote:
NCAFAC had a press conference this morning as broadcast on Fox, sorry, Sky, saying that the movement was going to continue and refused to condemn any violence by the protesters (press gave them the most aggressive third degree questioning I've ever seen), but roundly slated the old bill. They mentioned the up-coming demo's and urged people to come to the London Student Assembly on Sunday, and for students to form their own assemblies nationwide with the aim of having a 'national one' next year, and then extending it across Europe (!) They also called on the NUS to support the student movement and for the TUC to call a General Strike..

-Gave a pretty good account of themselves, and didn't really claim to be speaking on behalf of the movement...Not sure just what each individuals politics are, but two were dissident members of the NUS NEC..doubtless there are trots in the mix tho'...

I saw that too most of them are trots mainly SWP and EAN. It would be good if they actually came out in SUPPORT of the methods of protests yesterday rather than fail to condemn them.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 15:56

UCL have apparently ended their occupation peacefully 'in faith that the management will not impose any costs upon us'.

I hope they find somewhere else to regroup. Of all the occupations they seemed to be one of the best organised and the biggest inspiration to other occupations.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 16:00

From the Guardian livefeed:

Quote:
3.50pm: My colleague Patrick Kingsley has just come down to tell me there is a meeting for student activists at the Hong Kong Lecture Hall in the Clement Building at the London School of Economics at 6pm tonight. The meeting will plan a day of "national assembly" for student protesters to take place next month.

Anyone know anything about this? Who is organising it?

Auto
Dec 10 2010 16:08

Don Foster's constituency office in Bath has just had a brick put through it's window, according to the Guardian liveblogger.

In the words of the specials: 'People getting angry'.

Jenre
Dec 10 2010 16:27

http://inapcache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/londonprotest_12_10/l38_26275325.jpg

"Forensic police carry out investigations in Parliament Square in London, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010"

forensics?

Ellar
Dec 10 2010 16:40

Has another day ofaction or demo been organised? I've heard a few things here and there but nothing cocncrete yet. If it hasn't been organised then a call out should go out.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 16:45

Oh boy oh boy oh boy....

Live feed of the Exeter debate between Aaron Porter (supposed student leader) and Steve Smith (right wing vice chancellor, money grabber and head of Universities UK. Feed provided by the good people at the Exeter Occupation:

http://www.blogtv.com/people/exeteroccupation

Debate is scheduled for 5.

Auto
Dec 10 2010 16:47
jmacbean wrote:
Has another day ofaction or demo been organised? I've heard a few things here and there but nothing cocncrete yet. If it hasn't been organised then a call out should go out.

Nothing solid (people still recovering from yesterday, I think) but messages have been bouncing around the internet tentatively suggesting the 14th (Lords vote on Tuition bill).

Though there are plenty of other days of action planned (Like the 15th of Dec against Benefits). We'll see what get's picked up on in the coming days

Alf
Dec 10 2010 16:55

"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" Quote from Guardian cited above.

I was at the Wesminster Bridge end of Parliament Square around 6.30-7.30 with some other comrades. There were only a few people milling about in front of the police line, although within that few we met one young anarchist who knew his Maurice Brinton very well and some Solfed comrades...It was eerily quiet and we couldn't see anything over the rows of vans. We heard there were more people still at the Trafalgar Square end but by the time we got there that was quiet too. Then this morning I read about the kettle on the Bridge and wondered how that had happened. At lunchtime today at my sixthform college we held an open meeting in one of the student canteens and a group of very vocal students came along. One of them had been at the demo earlier on in the day yesterday and had been kettled in the Square, then let out with the promise of going over the bridge, but then kettled again half way across the bridge till 1.30, which entirely confirms the above account. He had also seen a lot of people being clobbered by police; and another one of our more militant students went home with bruises from a cop using a riot shield.
The lunchtime meeting was very good; unlike the previous meeting there were more students than staff. There is a core of students who want to be active, make links across college and with other local colleges and schools. We will meet again next week. They also mentioned a day of protest against the abolition of EMA on Monday but it wasn't clear what they were referring to. There is an NUT circular going round which calls for petitioning your local MP, etc, but that's about it. In any case, I think there may be a hiatus for a while but everyone agreed that this whole struggle is not at all over just because they passed a law in parliament.

jef costello
Dec 10 2010 17:25

Quote:
An officer detains a demonstrator on the edge of Parliament Square

bloody Guardian.

Quote:
Police officers surround a protester on the edge of Parliament Square
Samotnaf
Dec 10 2010 19:08

There's a complete TV and radio blackout here in France about what's been happening in England over the last 4 weeks, including yesterday. Millbank was mentioned once, a month ago when it happened - but silence since. Is it the same in other countries?

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 10 2010 19:25

WAG member just interviewed on Channel 4 News on The Violence Question.

Stranger Than P...
Dec 10 2010 19:27

WAG just on Channel 4 news.

Still don't understand why someone doesn't say that violence is a legitimate response to these attacks to our class.

rooieravotr
Dec 10 2010 20:05

My compliments and thanks to all this enlightening coverage!

As to Samotsaf's question on coverage in other copuntries: in the Netherlands the big action days got coverage, yesterday as well. Most of the attention goes to the 'violence' - the protestors' violence, that is; the scandalous police operations barely get mentioned. Today, the attack on Charles' and Camilla's car got quite a lot of attention, in a news item pretending that basically the whole of Britain was deeply, DEEPLY shocked...

By the way: student protests in the Netherlands as well, today for instance: Dutch news article (with a photo series and a video link): http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/2399007/duizenden-studenten-protesteren-in-amsterdam.html. In Nijmegen, anarchist students 'took' the stage to do a speech (otherwise, there was a mayor and auniversity chancellor on the stage...): http://www.indymedia.nl/nl/2010/12/72172.shtml . There is gonna be more: a big rally on 21 january, in The Hague.

Incubus
Dec 10 2010 20:08

Good point.

Class War incorrigibles will enjoy this one-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4PjUoqhouU

Can't help but think that those Herris fences couldn't be better employed against plods feet- lower centre of gravity etc.

Shiny colourful TSG commanders helmets make them terribly vulnerable to individual attention ,no?....

Samotnaf
Dec 10 2010 20:29

Just spoke to a couple of people who said the attack on Charles' and Camilla's Rolls was menioned on the tv news - but it must have been pretty low on the list , as i watched for 10 minutes on 2 channels, plus at midday, and it never got a mention. Plus 2 friends over the phone had only heard about it through me - so not quite a blackout in France, but very low level coverage.