Policing of Wednesday’s student protest “did not go to plan” but the violence that flared was down to a “hardcore” minority, the police minister has said.
Nick Herbert told MPs police would learn lessons after 41 officers were injured when a section of demonstrators stormed the Conservative party HQ. The prime minister has also condemned the violence, which led to 50 arrests.
The Met Police has announced an inquiry into the handling of the march against a rise in university tuition fees.
Fifty people who were arrested during the protests over planned university fee increases have been released on police bail until February. The majority had been held for criminal damage and aggravated trespass.
Thousands of students had taken to London’s streets to join the demonstration against the plan to lift the cap on tuition fees to £9,000.
Around 2,000 split from the main march to gather outside 30 Millbank, the Conservative headquarters in Westminster, where windows were smashed, fires lit and missiles thrown at police, Mr Herbert said.
“It is now clear that a small hard core within this group were intent on violence,” he told the Commons…
But shadow business secretary John Denham said the students had a legitimate cause and needed to be listened to.
He said: “Those parents and the students who were there yesterday have a legitimate cause that needs to be taken up and debated. We mustn’t allow the despicable action of some protesters to divert attention from a real issue.”
Hundreds of coachloads of students and lecturers travelled to London from across England, Wales and Scotland for the demonstration in Whitehall.
As well as higher fees, they were protesting against plans to cut higher education funding by 40% and to all but wipe out teaching grants except for science and maths.
- BBC News