In Pictures: 50,000 March for Higher Education in London

An estimated 50,000 university and college students and academics marched in Westminster yesterday. They were protesting against the raising of tuition fees to £9000 per student per year of study and the cutting of government funding for teaching in the arts and social sciences. Protestors marched down Whitehall, past parliament, before taking over Millback House, the Conservative party headquarters. Some made it to the roof of the building, being watched by thousands on the ground chanting and burning placards. The media are reporting that this is the largest student demonstration in a generation.

Nina Power has written a brilliant article in the Guardian today about the protests and media response. Read it here.

Categories: Higher Education, Visual Sociology

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2 replies »

  1. I’m surprised that no one has contributed a comment to this website after the student protests!

    I was very impressed by the numbers. And the violence done to Tory Party HQ did not bother me as much as the lack of organized purpose in doing so. (Such ‘violence’ is being trumped up mainly because the police didn’t expect it, not because of its actual severity.) Specifically, the person(s) who managed to get to the top of 30 Milbank should have read some manifesto that stated concrete demands that could then be made talking points in the media and possibly Parliament. Instead the actionwas too easily dismissed as simply the work of an aimless rabble.

    Moreover, the impact of the protest is being dissipated by news programmes juxtaposing Alan Porter and Clare Solomon, i.e. the good cop and bad cop of the protest. They spend more time bickering between themselves than stressing their unity against the tuition hikes.

    My advice: Violence of the sort on display yesterday is not so bad if it is seen as the spearhead of a unified front. But it is a disaster if it’s easily disowned as the product of a fringe movement that then opens up internal divisions within the student ranks about what the protest is supposedly about. Here, I believe, Porter missed an opportunity — and Solomon played it better (though as a team they just cancelled each other out).

    The idea of recalling LIberal MPs who renege on not raising tuition fees in university-based constituencies is a powerful move and should be pursued publicly and doggedly. This is the sort of political action that would open up serious discussion in media.

    However, we academics need to figure out more creative ways of justifying and financing higher education because it’s clear that the current system is unsustainable — and unfortunately the government is right on this basic point.

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