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Austerity Resistance in The UK

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.


Youth in the UK have been protesting routinely since November to show their concern to the Conservative government of the freshly passed tuition hikes.  University fees in England will be tripled beginning in 2012 as part of huge four-year austerity budget cuts. 

A day of action was planned for today, as the issue was debated and voted on by parliament.  Of course corporate media is doing their best to discredit the strength and determination these free people are expressing.  The CBC is reporting much like the New York Times, and the BBC.

Thousands of students held demonstrations and sit-ins throughout the country. Students marched through central London, banging drums, waving placards and chanting "education is not for sale," as weeks of nationwide protests reached a crescendo.

Throwing flares, billiards balls and paint bombs, small groups of protesters tore down barricades as police attempted to reinforce a security cordon near Parliament. Police said 16 protesters and six officers, including one pulled from a horse, were injured in the fracas. Seven people were arrested.

The scuffles broke out after students marched through central London and converged on the square, waving placards and chanting, "education is not for sale," capping weeks of nationwide protests to pressure lawmakers to reverse course.

Big media is labeling this as the demonstrators’ last chance to convince the state to revoke their intended cuts, part of the $128 billion they are planning to axe from public spending.  The majority vote passed this evening as fires burned in Parliament Square.  But will this be the end of austerity protests?  Perhaps the half a million public workers who are to be laid off will see to that.  

The BBC’s Ben Brown is calling the site of the demo,

 “a battle ground... missiles raining down on the police… a chaotic scene in Parliament Square.”

This very loyal spin is being pushed in BBC print as well; their biggest headline tonight concerns some royalty who escaped from calls of, “off with their heads!”  This event happened around 7:30 London time, after the vote is passed and Big Ben is hosting a bonfire.

A car containing Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall has been attacked amid violence after MPs voted to raise university tuition fees in England. A window was cracked [some report broken] and their car hit by paint, but the couple were unharmed.

This report later gives us a check-list of other actions

Other reported actions taken by the protesters include:

Setting the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square alight

Smashing windows at shops in Oxford Street

Vandalizing statues in Parliament Square, including that of Winston Churchill

A sit-in by about 150 students at the National Gallery


There were well-managed live-blog updates presented by various small media outlets. Unfortunately The Guardian’s great coverage ends in uncertainty, as supposedly hundreds of people are kettled by police on Westminster Bridge...

10.25pm: Some protesters have reportedly been kettled on Westminster Bridge, between lines of police four rows deep. The officers swept Parliament Square, forcing hundreds on to the bridge.

11.30pm: …There have been a number of calls and emails over the last two hours or so about the reported kettling at Westminster bridge. According to reports, several hundred protesters are still being held there.





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