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 24 2010 15:58

That might be worth it's own article - these could keep going after the protests and into next week - note if one person posts and article, anyone can edit it (although an admin will have to approve the edits).

no1
Nov 24 2010 15:59
Auto
Nov 24 2010 16:10

From Twitter:

Reports of mass clothes swapping inside kettle after police say kettle remains while they try to identify 'suspects'. #dayx #demo2010

Auto
Nov 24 2010 16:21

See, this is why I think the spreading out of action, rather than just piling into London has been a strong point of the day. It'll make it very hard to paint things as being 'a few violent anarchists'.

mons
Nov 24 2010 16:31

100 still at Oxford occupying Radcliff Camera.
This is their statement:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/11/468529.html

Mike Harman
Nov 24 2010 16:38
Auto wrote:
See, this is why I think the spreading out of action, rather than just piling into London has been a strong point of the day. It'll make it very hard to paint things as being 'a few violent anarchists'.

While this is true, it's not been very hard for the BBC - they just ignored the rest of the country the whole day and focused on the same few hundred metre stretch of Whitehall. At least going by twitter people have completely seen through this. Bit too early to tell what will happen with the dailies.

Auto
Nov 24 2010 16:40
mons wrote:
100 still at Oxford occupying Radcliff Camera.
This is their statement:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/11/468529.html

Brilliant. I especially like 'the library is now open to all members of the public, feel free to join us!'

Auto
Nov 24 2010 16:52
Mike Harman wrote:
While this is true, it's not been very hard for the BBC - they just ignored the rest of the country the whole day and focused on the same few hundred metre stretch of Whitehall. At least going by twitter people have completely seen through this. Bit too early to tell what will happen with the dailies.

Well the guardian has changed their front page image from 'smashy-smashy van' to a large crowd with placards' so they at least may take a different tack.

EDIT: No, I tell a lie. It's back to Riot police.

Pure optimism on my part.

Chilli Sauce
Nov 24 2010 17:06

About 2 dozen walked out from my school. Numbers aren't huge, but this is S. Kilburn and I didn't know we had a politicized student in the bunch--and this was after the head called them in for a morning assembly and told them not to go (threat to their week EMA payment, etc.) One kid had a silly flag with a smiley face, but they all walked out in a group with their fists raised. Pretty inspiring scene, I must say. Oh there was also a pretty nifty homemade flyer being passed around that said something along the lines of you "You talk the talk, now walk the walk!"

Although no staff walked (most didn't even seem to be aware of it), the feedback was overwhelming supportive, with only the occasional "Ah, they just want a free day off". (Which, even if it true, fuck it, at least they'll be talking about this issues. That's the first step.)

Chilli Sauce
Nov 24 2010 16:52

Oh, and I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but the S. London SF callout has already been picked up by the media. They are referred to as an unnamed "anarchist organization" that recommends "roaming marches" and "disrupting business".

radicalgraffiti
Nov 24 2010 17:02

they mentioned that and the afed statement as well as both organisations by name on sky news this morning

no1
Nov 24 2010 17:16

Latest from Brighton: There are roaming demos which have overwhelmed the police. The VodaFone shop was briefly occupied, but then occupied with some scuffles with riot cops, and objects thrown. 4-500 people are now holding one of the main roads, Western road - with only 25 cops about.

Edit: live footage here, it looks like they are more or less kettled: http://qik.com/fordie

Mike Harman
Nov 24 2010 17:16
Uncreative
Nov 24 2010 17:36

Apparently "hundreds" of students took part in protests in Calderdale, the local paper mentions students from North Halifax Grammar School, Todmorden High School and Calder High School.

flaneur
Nov 24 2010 17:54

Michael Gove has been bleating about extremists in the crowd who are not students and that these protests should be starved of the oxygen of publicity. What a cunt.

Mike Harman
Nov 24 2010 17:52

Times Higher Education supplement trying to compile a full list of occupations - http://www.twitlonger.com/show/74u1kr

And a map of the occupations here - http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=109943678837866766158.000495bb3ff786461581e&z=7

Ramona
Nov 24 2010 18:37

Edinburgh Uni under occupation, uni staff about to lock the building, we're still figuring out how to word our demands wink

Photos and blog up soon...

S-J
Nov 24 2010 18:38

In Colchester a good few hundred FE students took to the streets in what looked like a pretty well organised display of anger and resistance. Other than a sit down outside the town hall that effetively closed the High Street for a while and a noisy march through the town centre, it seems like the demo passed without much action however.
At Essex university, it looks like a decent group of students turned out in the main square of campus... but then didn't really go anywhere off campus. There is an occupation of a lecture theatre in progress (led of course by the swappies), but some rumours are going around that the room was actually booked in advance... make what you will of that...

Ramona
Nov 24 2010 18:41
no1
Nov 24 2010 19:01

Brighton update: Things are coming to an end, with the remainder of the demo kettled, about 40 people, mostly school kids. The police are taking them out one at a time, photographing them, taking their details and letting them go. Earlier on , 400 people tried to storm the police station, but riot cops just beat them to it and repelled them.

Boydell
Nov 24 2010 19:06

Spoke to people in Bristol who were there:

BIG numbers at the start, 5,000+. At the top of Park St they were already singing "build a bonfire..."

March got the bottom of park st, broke a cordon. Tons of coppers, horses, they say they were unprepared but thats nonsense - the whole of Avon & Somerset police would have been powerless to stop it.

Stand off at the bottom of Park St., march stopped by a blockade of cop vans and horses. So, it starts back up the hill. Milling about, lots of 'the youth' upfront and militant, school kids seem the most militant, compared to college kids.

Fireworks thrown at horses and cop lines, classic footage on BBC of a copper walloping the crap out of his horse with his baton to stop it running away. Crowd is too mobile to get penned and whacked itself.

From 1pm to 4.30pm, a succession of 'flash occupations' of all colleges and uni buildings in the centre. Cops give up trying to defend buildings, 3 or 4 times try and set kettle traps, each time they are easily smashed. Demo now has the run of the West end of the city centre, cops cannot contain them.

"Bristol Students Uni occupied by about 200. Cops start to come in to 'take control', lock all the doors to create a 'rat run' as they called it: a single door where students would have to file thru, be photographed, arrests made.

Students see this, stay upstairs. Moments later the main demo is at the entrance, begin hammering on the doors, smash one of them, overpower the police and join with the occupation. A fire alarm goes off, again the police try and establish the 'rat run', fire exits are smashed open and everyone escapes, seemingly without arrest."

Very little sign of arrests. FIT teams cannot keep up with the roaming demo so they seem to be withdrawn.

At one point 10 vans pull up, seemingly intent on arresting a breakaway section - they run off, vans are then called away to confrontation on college green with another part of demo. Stand off on college green - protesters win easily again. Demo goes across college green and occupies City of Bristol college - by now unopposed, police reduced to directing traffic to make out they are still in control.

By 5pm, demo has dwindled to less than 100, no firm accounts but from local news sounds like there was no kettle and mass arrest at the end of it.

Hats off to the young 'uns, they showed us how its done.

Volin
Nov 24 2010 19:08

Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University are also being occupied, apparently.

Steven.
Nov 24 2010 19:15

Headed to Whitehall after work, the kettle seemed to be over, there were a couple of hundred stragglers left, including quite a few young kids, 15 to 17.

They were slowly being pushed up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square by a line of riot police with riot horses in front. On one side a couple of horses charged in, batons flailing but everyone rushed at the cops, lots of small objects flying at them and they retreated. Then they went back to slowly moving everyone up. Some people were gradually dispersing, as it was very cold!

Small picket outside Hackney town Hall as well for Mayor's question time.

Heard back this morning there were a few hundred from Goldsmiths University and New Cross colleges who headed into central London about 11:30 a.m., with a fit team observing them.

Media reporting 3000 in Brighton.

Nice work with the reports everyone, do keep them coming!

flaneur
Nov 24 2010 19:32

200 poor bastards being kettled again, near Trafalgar Square.

And in a article from the BBC,
"Another 16-year-old, describing himself as "Kieran from Camden", had been reading up on Marx. He gave every journalist who would listen a passable essay on the theory of class."

Alf
Nov 24 2010 19:41

Arrived at Trafalgar Square before noon. Quite a few already there, the majority schoolkids from many different schools – some pretty young, year 10 or so. They said they had heard about it through Facebook. Some had walked out, others had just not gone in to school today. Very exuberant and energetic atmosphere as the crowd got bigger – a lot of focus on ‘Tory Scum’ but the cutting of EMA has now joined tuition fees as a big reason for mobilising. I gave out our leaflet which had been slightly updated. After everyone had piled up for photo ops under the Column I was talking to a member of the AF when I turned round and suddenly they had already set off. There had been no speeches, no loud speakers, no platform. I ran to keep up, then met up with Jaycee who had arrived with the contingent from SOAS.

The kettling began almost immediately. We had discussed the Solfed call-out to avoid getting trapped at Lib Dem HQ, which we agreed with, although the idea of roaming round the city causing disruption quickly proved to be a non-starter whatever you might think of it. They blocked the march off half way down Horseguard’s parade and quickly had us kettled in at both ends. I don’t know why a police van was abandoned in the middle of the crowd. The BBC and others have made play of apparent attempts by some schoolkids to stop it being trashed but the vast majority of the crowd were more than relaxed about the trashing when it started. Perhaps the police left it there as a kind of pillow to take out frustration on, and to provide lurid images for the media. Speaking of which there was more than usual interest in World Revolution from media cameras – perhaps they have read the Daily Mail and know that the ICC is the sinister force behind the entire movement. I was even interviewed very briefly by BBC Arab (I think). I have reached the stage in my life where I don’t care that much about global exposure. However it was very brief and I only got time to say that I was there to support the students who being subjected to this big attack on their futures – no time to explain the theory of decadence I’m afraid.

Being an old man I also decided that I wasn’t going to stay for the whole shindig. I managed to persuade a Nice Mr Riot Police Man that he should let me (and Jaycee as my carer) go because I had a heart condition (which is true – I have two stents to prove it) and am therefore here to write this. The mood when I left was still fairly upbeat amongst the students but obviously the aim of the kettling tactic is to wear down people’s spirits and to make a clear assertion that the state is still master of the streets. On the other hand, this experience will certainly lead a lot of people, many of whom would have been on a protest for the first time in their lives, to think about what it actually means to come up against the state. The lack of self-organisation was very apparent. I looked around for any speaker systems or loudhailers for people to start discussing collectively what to do, but saw nothing: providing the means for this to happen would have been a possible role for a radical bloc had there been one....

I agree with those who have posted to say that the spreading of the actions is the most important thing, especially now that the schools and sixth form colleges are getting involved. We had an interesting meeting of the discussion forum at our college a couple of weeks ago, involving a fair number of staff and a handful of students. I met again with a couple of the latter who decided to put out a leaflet calling people to today’s demo. I didn’t manage to link up with them today because I am only working very part time now, but I will get together with them and some other members of staff soon to discuss what next.

madashell
Nov 24 2010 19:43

Stuff in Liverpool was fairly interesting, lot of school students along in uniform, presumably they came straight from school. Not sure if the timing in the article is quite right, was about 3:30pm when occupiers came down from the roof, the occupation can't have lasted more than 20 minutes or so before the cops started coming up and people left, so the march would have arrived there shortly after 3pm, not hugely important mind.

Ramona
Nov 24 2010 19:56

Report from Edinburgh...

At 1pm over 300 students gathered in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, to begin a day of protest in resistance to cuts and fees; meanwhile, 50 workers and benefit claimants were holding a demonstration outside Edinburgh’s A4E offices. The two marches were organised in solidarity with each other, and soon the students were marching down Lothian Road, the workers and claimants joining them, all chanting “No Ifs! No Buts! No Education Cuts!” and “Nick Clegg, shame on you! Shame on you for turning blue!”

The diverse protest marched on to the LibDem HQ by Haymarket, where the students held a sit-down study-in in the middle of the street, encouraged by passing traffic! We heard speeches from lecturers, local activists, politicians, workers, claimants and students, and then posted a copy of Nick Clegg’s pledge to oppose education cuts through the letter box — just to remind them.

The march carried on through the streets of Edinburgh, gaining support from residents and school students. At busy junctions we sat down in the road — the traffic wasn’t happy, but it made our presence known and got our message across. Heavily chaperoned by the police all the way, we paid a visit to the University’s Registry Offices, which we briefly occupied. Here we faced a stand-off with the police, who refused to allow more legitimate and peaceful protesters into the building. Eventually, deciding we had made our point, we regrouped at George Square — and then took everyone by surprise.

Still hundreds strong, we marched to a nearby lecture theatre (Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 2) and promptly, peacefully and effectively occupied it. We began a public meeting to discuss the future of this protest, and soon resolved to stay for the long term, until some crucial demands were met. We’re now finalising these demands for presentation to the University, getting our bedding ready for tonight, and trying to secure freedom of movement, so that more people from all walks of life can join and extend our protest.

Come on down! Solidarity!

klas batalo
Nov 24 2010 20:04

it would be useful for those of us over the pond to know how the majority of these demos and occupations have been organized and by whom? student unions, political groups, what is the analysis of that?

the only people who'd do this shit here are anarchists, and maybe trots, and a few extra students once in awhile. we have no student unions...