Thousands of students take action against cuts and fees

Photograph from Whitehall by @beckpitt

Thousands of students and supporters are due to take part in a national day of action against cuts and tuition fee increases across the UK on 24 November. Post your live updates here.

The main day of action Facebook group has over 22,000 attendees.

We'll be updating this story throughout the day as events unfold, please add your own updates as comments.

Occupations have begun at some universities before the official day of action:

- Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, occupied the Brunei Gallery on Monday, the occupation continues at time of writing, held by around sixty students, updates are being posted to their blog.

- Around 50 of these students are engaged in the occupation of Lecture Theatre 7 in the Manchester Metropolitan University Geoffrey Manton building, the occupation began on Monday.

- Around 40 students at the University of the West of England (UWE) students began an occupation at the Frenchay Campus on Monday afternoon with the intention of staying overnight.

- Students at Royal Holloway occupied a corridor of the founders building last night, they are posting regular updates and have a live webcam feed

- Birmingham and Plymouth universities have both been occupied today.

- 10.45am - School walkouts have begun, with a well-organised protest in Leeds leaving the school at 10am for a march around the town centre.

- Local newspapers are reporting a number of secondary schools and sixth form colleges will be participating in the walkouts during the day.

- 12:10pm - anticuts.com just reported UEL going into occupation following a demo on campus.

- 12:20pm - London Southbank university just went into occupation, more details on on their blog.

- 12:28pm - The Guardian's Paul Lewis on twitter writes: March just broke into a sprint away from police at strand - cops now blocked the road. #demo2010, then March broken from official route to Trafalgar Sq. Now at Embankment. This wasn't supposed to happen. #demo2010

- 12:39pm - UCL occupied . update 12:41pm: Guardian reports that "hundreds of UCL students" have occupied the Jeremy Bentham room in the central campus building). 12:50pm - photo.

- 12:46pm - @paul_sagar writes "There are school kids at the Cambridge demo, in uniform. AND WITH THEIR TEACHERS! #demo2010"

- 12:51pm - traffic stopped in central Leeds (photo)

- 1:23pm - Warwick University in occupation in Arts Centre Lecture Theatre

- 1.30pm - Police van isolated by protesters, then abandoned by police in Trafalgar square, in process of being ripped apart. Protesters are in process of being kettled by several hundred police officers, various journalists and others reporting on twitter that things are still unpredictable.

- 1.40pm - Essex University occupied.

- 1.54pm - Leeds University occupied.

- 2.01pm - Oxford library occupied.

- 2.02pm - BBC live coverage shows police using batons to beat back protesters.

Protester bleeding in Westminster

- 2.04pm - One arrest at Bristol protest.

- 2.24pm - Over 5-600 students marched through cambridge according to the BBC. Several hundred scaled a fence to occupy Senate House. Lots of people in there, beating back people with batons. A few students jumping back over the fence to get out of the way.

- 4.00pm - over 1,000 students walked out of Chiswick community school earlier today according to twitter (no link because the twitter account appears to be the real name of a real student at the school).

- 4.48pm - Dozens of retweets on twitter that Officer U2128 kicked an unarmed 15 year-old girl in the stomach, this was caught on video. Witnesses then changed "You're going on YouTube".

- 5.42pm - video from the Senate House occupation in Cambridge:

- 5.45pm - solfed updates from around the UK:

Liverpool
Initial estimates suggested a turnout of thousands who brought Lime Street to a standstill, with a fast moving march featuring an attempted sit-down in Castle Street. While most commenters are agreeing that the protest has been peaceful, police brought out dogs and horses and there have been complaints of "intimidating behaviour." The march was largely halted as of 1pm but quickly got moving again and reached the town hall at around 1.30pm. Hundreds of people filled all levels of the Liverpool One shopping centre, and the protest broke up at around 2.30pm. The main incident saw students occupy the Guild (Liverpool's Student Union) after the march had broken up, in an interesting twist on the story of over a dozen occupations iat universities across the country - apparently many students have remained unimpressed with the performance of the likes of Aaron Porter.

- Brighton
The city saw a relatively energetic march converging on Dyke Road Park, from age 12/13 up. Numbers were difficult to estimate, but our members thought there could be 500-1000. One noted at 3.30pm: "Speeches were largely ignored, and over half the crowd has broken away on an unauthorised march. Cops are heavily outnumbered, with a total of over 2,000 people on the demo." As it ended many converged on the town hall, where police pushed the crowd back as it attempted to storm the building.

Most spectacular however were the events after the official march ended, with reports coming in of students smashing in their union building and large numbers of police being mobilised. It appears that the police have been totally outmanouvered, with roaming demos which have seen the city's VodaFone shop briefly occupied, 400-500 people holding the major Western Road and continuing struggles at the town hall - with the force's Chief Inspector Taylor noting "No other arrests apart from the earlier one for breach of peace."

As the police's frustrations rise, there has been at least one anecdotal story on twitter that a student in school uniform has been beaten up by a policeman at Priory House.

Extra...
A member in the Northwest notes: "Biggish one in Manchester again, around 700 people but a bloody enormous one in Bury up the road, police saying around 1,200. It's now finished and police say there were no arrests made.
News from Leeds: Protesters have occupied Leeds university. People are on the roof.

Massive list of what's planned for today at http://anticuts.org.uk/?page_id=778

More on libcom:
- Discuss today's events in our forum
- Discuss the 10th November protests
- UK against austerity

Posted By

libcom
Nov 23 2010 23:04

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Comments

Mike Harman
Nov 25 2010 16:46

BBC says ten universities still occupying - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11839216

welshboy
Nov 25 2010 16:53
Rob Ray
Nov 25 2010 17:19

Confirmed attendees on the 30th just broke the 10,000 mark.

Auto
Nov 25 2010 18:37

Just got back from the Radcliffe Camera where the occupation has ended. The occupiers were gathered outside while police were checking the building. A rumour I heard said that the police had entered the building through a fire escape. I got there at 5:30 and I think it had just ended.

The occupiers seemed in good spirits if (understandably) tired. Still, there were some good chants, big cheers whenever a remaining student emerged. There were a couple of speeches, including a quite firey one from a local union leader.

People then dispersed, but there had been a call for a large student participation on Saturday's anti-cuts march and also for the day of action on Tuesday.

Chilli Sauce
Nov 25 2010 20:38

Two cool things from today:

1) A kid from my school ended up on the news, which was pretty cool.

2) A friend went down to the London South Bank occupation. Although he just graduated from there last year, his card was expired so he couldn't get in, which was pretty disappointing. However, there was a banner out the window which read:

"The University is our factory! Occupy and Strike!"

I like.

baboon
Nov 25 2010 22:26

Like all on here I would like to welcome these developments and say that the workers I've talked to don't have the "bloody students" reflex of the 70s and 80s that the media initially tried to re-instill this time. Also a small point was the number of young girls particularly, who were interviewed who said that their parents supported them with some paying their fares or dropping them off, etc. It was good to see them taking part in the demonstration so enthusiastically and this against the particular forms of state oppression directed against this element of the working class.

There were some discussions on here recently, seemingly arguing against an organised radical block intervention, that said the situation in Britain, and of students in Britain, wasn't like France. On a militantometer you could argue that it was more significant for the working class. Whatever, it was significant. The amount of youngsters, schoolchildren on the streets demonstrating with some anger and humour, was a sight for sore eyes.

There was also a post by Jason Cortez that seemed, it was quite confusing, to be arguing against organised activity. I couldn't really see why and I think Alf's post above showed there was potential for the working class, or genuine elements of the working class to have a presence here. The government won't back down on this and students isolated do not have sufficient force to push back the state. Of course, at this stage, a proletarian radical block position or presence will not have an influence on events and no-one is saying that it will (I think that this was another argument against organisation). But the essence is that this fight will have to link up with workers' struggles. We have to see the latter develop but a minority position of the working class is still a position of the working class and the more of us involved in this - on a principle basis - the better.

The reports above are very positive.

Auto
Nov 25 2010 22:57

Does anyone think it would be worth putting out a call for a united day of action on a weekend? Try to see if there are working people who will take up the action in the current atmosphere? An attempt to spread the energy and the action?

I'm not suggesting an 'Anarchist organised' event at all, but just putting a call out on the social networks and seeing what happens. I've spoken to a number of people (non-students) who admire what the students are doing and want to get involved, but can't do the weekday-centric protests. Hell, I'm one of them.

In the current atmosphere, I get the feeling any such call could be picked up and run with. Seeing as how the NCAFC seems to mostly be putting the calls out and then facilitating the free flow of information afterwards.

It's just a thought.

Duds4u
Nov 25 2010 23:48
Quote:
Does anyone think it would be worth putting out a call for a united day of action on a weekend? Try to see if there are working people who will take up the action in the current atmosphere? An attempt to spread the energy and the action?

Defo - we are few at my place of work so getting away can be tricky during the week. Am conscious also that some of the younger folk out on the streets are not long out of nappies wink and, well, I'd kinda feel out of place!

Kaze no Kae
Nov 26 2010 00:42

The occupation at Manchester Metropolitan didn't stay the Monday night http://kazenokae.blogspot.com/2010/11/organise-occupy-fight-for-right-to.html

Manchester Unis been occupied since about 4 yesterday though grin

flaneur
Nov 26 2010 01:09

Another protest, another police medic on hand to help.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 03:36

Mounted police charging protesters. MET denied it was 'charging' and said charging is a 'very specific term'.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 03:46

2:39, very vicious attack with a riot shield. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0IBvRCOBFI

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 05:24
Auto wrote:
Does anyone think it would be worth putting out a call for a united day of action on a weekend? Try to see if there are working people who will take up the action in the current atmosphere? An attempt to spread the energy and the action?
..

In the current atmosphere, I get the feeling any such call could be picked up and run with. Seeing as how the NCAFC seems to mostly be putting the calls out and then facilitating the free flow of information afterwards.

It's just a thought.

I think this is worth doing. Didn't have a twitter account, so I made one and posted this - http://twitter.com/#!/mikeharman2/status/8025001382903808 feel free to RT!

Auto
Nov 26 2010 10:52

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=166941933346069

A call's gone out for Dec 4th. Let's see if it takes off.

flaneur
Nov 26 2010 10:53

Beaten to the punch.

Auto
Nov 26 2010 11:22

Blargh, double post.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 12:12

Old school Cambridge has been occupied - Old Schools Common Room (Next to Senate house -- first floor) - http://plixi.com/p/59275735 police surrounding the outside.

princess mob
Nov 26 2010 12:29

The occupation of the University of Bristol Student Union last night ended after the union met occupiers' demands (for an emergency general meeting & for access to union meeting rooms for organising.) Victory statement here

The occupation at UWE that started on Monday is still going strong. There are a bunch of workshops today & more planned over the weekend.

Bristol City College was occupied as part of events on Wednesday, after police stopped the crowd getting into the centre or back towards Bristol Uni. I heard it was held for a little while but don't know any more.

Interestingly enough, the facebook page for the 30th in Bristol says
"EVERYONE TRY TO WEAR BLACK SO WE ALL LOOK LIKE A TEAM! [...] we're all one team here.. a non violent team."

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 13:23

Riot if fees go up facebook event has almost 500 attendees now.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 13:38
radicalgraffiti
Nov 26 2010 13:47
Mike Harman wrote:
Riot if fees go up facebook event has almost 500 attendees now.

from that page

Quote:
Solution: make Scotland/Wales pay the same as England and then nothing will have to go up.

wall

Demogorgon303
Nov 26 2010 13:51
Quote:
Solution: make Scotland/Wales pay the same as England and then nothing will have to go up.

Except of course for Scottish and Welsh students!

Demogorgon303
Nov 26 2010 13:52

Tch, beat me to it!

flaneur
Nov 26 2010 13:56

I found this by the same bloke more offensive.

Quote:
not the only solution i could go on, scroll down and read. Cut foreign aid, no benefits to people aren't working,we are able to bail out ireland,people earning more in the public sector than PM,scarp EMA (to benefit tuition fees a bit),not to mention we are in an expensive war,scottish people and welsh get much cheaper uni fees than english students not to only mention that they get free prescriptions- how is this fair?

Or maybe the Michael Jackson video, I'm not sure.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 14:23

Guardian's running the police horse charge at Westminster finally - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/26/police-student-protests-horses-charge

mons
Nov 26 2010 15:51
Quote:
Guardian's running the police horse charge at Westminster finally - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/26/police-student-protests-horses-charge

And the comments are really fucking angry! It is really horrible, the whole thing feels surreal to me, being too young to remember any equivalent.

Mike Harman
Nov 26 2010 16:55

Already finished but I didn't see it anywhere else - Roehampton uni was occupied too - http://roeunioccupation.wordpress.com/

ernie
Nov 26 2010 19:35

Mons

These attacks by the police are not new but as old as capitalism itself. But is pretty scary stuff when you first see it. Mount police charging into tightly packed people at Wapping including old folk, was the worse I have seen personally.

Such brutal attacks on young people may intimated some but will radicalise others , May be the state is hoping to scare parents into not allowing there children to take part in such demonstrations..

This is certainly doing the image of the Coalition as really caring for the pain of the people, no good at all. The idea that a coalition with the libdems would help to renew the image of the Tories is taking a bit of a battering with young people chanting "Tory scum".

The question of spreading the struggle is certainly being posed. How do the young link up their struggle with other workers? At the demo in Exeter when one of the organisors said that this was part of the struggle of the whole working class, those present were very loud in their agreement. This is even more significant since most of those participating were 18 or under and have never really experienced wide spread class struggle.

The local Anti-Cuts Alliance is trying to bring them under their wing, through the role of young SP militants in this movement, but there is no real solid organisation to this movement for them to work with. The whole situation is rather fluid. The young are angry but what do they do next?

Kronstadt_Kid
Nov 26 2010 21:01
Matt_efc wrote:
I'd have put manchester as much bigger than 1000. The occupation blog is claiming 6000 and the police are claiming 2,500-3000. It was much bigger than I expected, splitting off into 3 different demos at one point to keep the police on the move after they tried to divert the route.

I'll do a proper write up of it later, but I just found out my best mate has been made redundant so I'm off to go and cheer him up first

I reckoned there was 3000, what you think of this report?

Jason Cortez
Nov 26 2010 21:17

There is currently a figure of one hundred thousand students being involved on the 24th across the country on many websites connected in some way to this struggle. This seems way too big to me, I have no idea how the figure calculated or where it first appeared. This seems to be an attempt to grossly inflate the movement in the hope that it will encourage, others to join. At a guess I would imagine around 30,000 - 50,000 tops were involved still a very significant number. What do others think?