Tens of thousands of students will walk out of class for the third time in as many weeks today during a national day of action against cuts and tuition fees.
Protests last week erupted into occupations at around fifteen universities across the UK, with reports of as much as 35 universities and colleges having been in occupation over the past couple of weeks. We expect to see even more occupations begin as a result of today's day of action.
Reports have also come out over the past week of police brutality against demonstrators, including horse charges and 'toxic fire extinguisher' spray against kettled protesters in Whitehall, mounted police charging demonstrators in Manchester, and riot police attacking protesters at Lewisham Town Hall yesterday evening, including pushing students down stairs.
We will update this page regularly as the day develops. Please post local reports in the comments below.
11:53am - via Facebook
"15 students have moved into occupation of the Tory offices in Aberdeen in attempt to shut down operations for the day. Police quickly arrived on the scene and the protest continues, it is believed the protesters will be moved off the premises soon, but the office will be closed for ...the day."
11:56am via @LeedsStudent "One person already arrested", "Police containing protestors". http://twitpic.com/3bl0ld
12:06pm - Wayne in comments says:
Just back from our wee morning picket at Uni of Glos. The response to the banner and fliers was easily the best I've experienced in Cheltenham and a lot of students said they were planning to join the protest (which here is on the 8th December for some reason). Security were summoned to remove our banner on order of the campus manager; they were quite apologetic about it but I think their jobs are very vulnerable just now. All in all, it was a bit lame but we shifted our leaflets and got a decent response from colleagues and from the students.
12:07pm - Sheffield uni demo subject to section 14 order. Cops attempting to limit demo outside Clegg's constituency office to 100 people.
Leeds marchers being kettled with cops in front and vans behind, first arrest of the day after an early scuffle.
12:18pm - Great Hall, Trent Building, University of Nottingham has been occupied (via twitter)
12:21pm - BBC News just reported protesters in Trafalgar Sq. have legged it down Whitehall an hour earlier than planned, presumably to avoid getting kettled.
- more on this from http://lsjsn.wordpress.com/:
Around 500 college students just charged down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square only to be met by a wall of police.
The police had been hidden down a side street and emerged as they saw the protesters charging.
The protesters then returned to Trafalgar Square and were last reported to be heading toward Buckingham Palace.
One observer remarked on the incident as being: “Very French revolution.”
Few University of London students are currently at Trafalgar Square, although a delegation from Queen Mary has been seen and student from UCL and SOAS are en route.
Protesters have split into two groups. One group are still at Whitehall, and one have headed into St James Park.
Riot Police have been scene following the St James Park crowd and are expected to attempt to kettle them in.
Reports that other protesters have made it to Parliament Square are also coming in.
12:32pm - "King's College London have occupied against the coalition's proposed rise in student fees and cuts to EMA. We have taken a lovely lecture theatre and are sitting peacefully through a very long maths lecture so as not to disrupt anyone's education. Join us!"
1:30pm - Rob Ray in comments posts:
Bristol: Police have sent in the horses and are chasing protesters with them.
London: Snowballs flying, apparently hitting a couple of the Fit. Picadilly and Regent Street apparently brought to a standstill?
Liverpool: Attempt at kettling from police, some shoving but nothing major? Mostly at a standstill, smaller numbers than last time. However, uni roof has just been occupied for a banner drop.
Also worryingly there's a report that troops are being brought in as backup for the cops, in blue baseball caps - though that may just be rumours...
1.34pm - School students protesting outside Birmingham council offices: http://twitpic.com/3blu08
1.40pm - That Birmingham council office protest has turned into an occupation of 60 people!
1.41pm - protesters in London are spread out all over the place, largely evading police attempts at kettling with a few exceptions, first reports of brutality from @UCLOccupation of people being rugby tackled into railings. Huge police lines in some areas but those areas are being avoided for obvious reasons.
1.42pm - 1,000 protesters outside Nick Clegg's office in Sheffield.
2.42pm - Slade school of art occupied. Cat and mouse continues in London, appears to be some convergence of both police and protesters at Trafalgar Square.
- Kettling at Trafalgar Square has begun, police horses are there, not letting anyone out.
- student interviewed at Birmingham says they'll stay there as long as possible.
- Occupation of majorie arnold an ziff building on leeds uni campus. Staff being evacuated now.
- "Occupation of majorie arnold an ziff building on leeds uni campus. Staff being evacuated now."
- @edactivistnet - Students have occupied part of Queens University in support of free education. #demo2010 #dayx2"
- Oxfordshire Council offices invaded a few minutes ago: http://twitpic.com/3bmp2i; Protestors in Oxford, mainly secondary school students, have occupied County Hall. Some have made their way onto the roof.
- Liverpool : march banned but people broke through. Road and rooftop sitins. Police kettling now in Liverpool.
3.17pm - Sheffield University occupied.
3.26pm - Riot police in Trafalgar Square, eight police vans. Kettling in operation.
3.40pm - Trafalgar Square kettle broken (though reports say not much of a kettle, with small groups being allowed out). Fireworks let off.
3.58pm - Students are occupying at Kingston University.
- Students have taken the multi-storey car park at Hove Town Hall.
- Protesters occupy Lloyds Bank in Cardiff.
- 400 people occupying lecture theatre at Manchester University.
- Students in Sheffield occupy university library.
4.30pm - reports of police in Brighton using tasers against protesting schoolkids. As yet unconfirmed.
5.50pm - Birmingham Council occupation has ended with a march around the city.