Future Imperfect

By DeusExMacintosh

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

6 Comments

  1. Patrick
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Legitimate cause my arse. I get mad reading this kind of story – I’m sorry but once the spoiled brats got to the property damage stage the police should have simply waded in and belted the little gits.

  2. Jacques Chester
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    In every large student demonstration ever put together anywhere, there is always a bunch aiming to smash some stuff. It’s not as though you’d need a crystal ball to have predicted something like this might happen.

  3. Posted November 12, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I wonder (tounge in cheek) if student politics in the UK has mirrored that in Oz – for the last 20 years the only issues to galvanize any significant fraction of uni students having involved student benefits/costs.

    Perhaps there is a element of unintended consequences here.

    Perhaps we /should/ fund student unions again so the yoof-with-books can have many smaller protests on different things (“rights for gay whales” etc) as outlet for yoofful indignation, rather than have them be monomaniancs with large rallies that get out of control.

  4. TerjeP
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    the only issues to galvanize any significant fraction of uni students having involved student benefits/costs.

    Suits me just fine. On other matters they bring no special qualification nor any special insight.

  5. Posted November 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    What is it with protesters who can’t spell? It’s not just the yoof of Britain, either — you can go through any number of Tea Party or leftie demos and find the same thing, sometimes even in officially printed material.

  6. conrad
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    I thought the misspelling was probably deliberate — as in, this is what you will get without a decent education system.

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