Protesting students storm government offices in London

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LONDON - A mass demonstration by students in Britain descended into chaos and violence in the government quarter in central London Wednesday, when some of the students stormed the headquarters of the conservative governing party.

The group of protesters smashed windows and destroyed security cameras, pelted police and security staff with bottles and rocks, while some climbed onto the roof of the 30-storey Millbank Tower to unfurl placards, media reports said.

The group had broken away from the main demonstration by around 50,000 students and lecturer against planned tuition cost hikes and forced their way into the complex that houses the Tory Party and various government agencies.

Hundreds of people were evacuated as police and security guards intervened to keep the placard-wielding students out.

Several members of the police, ill-prepared for violence, and some of the demonstrators sustained minor injuries. According to police, eight people were treated in hospital.

Aaron Porter, head of the student body NUS, condemned the violence, saying “99 per cent of the students demonstrated peacefully.”

As part of its overall austerity plan, the government plans to cut university funding and raise tertiary tuition fees to around 9,000 pounds ($14,500) a year in 2012.

Students at universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland currently pay around 3,200 pounds tuition a year.

Britain is fighting debt and a record budget deficit in the wake of the financial crisis.

Over the next four to five years, the government plans to cut the national budget by 81 million pounds. Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs are at risk.

Filed under: Education

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