Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/654/10974
Education Maintenance Allowance: 11 January day of action
After a small rally in the Old Market Square, we marched to a rally outside the Vodafone store resulting in it closing for the rest of the working day. When we felt we had made our point we marched to the Nottingham Conservative Party offices. The anger was so contagious that many students who hadn't heard about our march joined us and by the time we reached the Tory offices there were 200 or 300 of us.
When we got there one of our group was arrested for alleged vandalism. The brutal treatment he got was massively uncalled for, and when a few people tried to help the 16 year old student, the police started to lash out at them - kicking, punching and throwing them onto the floor.
We then decided to hold a small rally outside the police station, but the student was moved off to another location, so we marched to that police station too, still gathering numbers.
On the way to the station one of the school students saw a Vodafone store and immediately sprang towards it and the march then became an occupation of this store.
What impressed me most was people's ability to make an instant connection between EMA being axed and tuition fees being hiked, and Vodafone's £6 billion in unpaid tax.
Around 40 college and school students marched through Halifax chanting: "David Cameron hear us say, EMA is here to stay" and "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts".
We made our way to the town hall to demand that, should the government force through its cuts, then Halifax's Labour council should campaign for funds so that EMA can continue as well as the public services it is currently planning to cut.
We then moved on to the Halifax bank headquarters where we protested against the obscene bonuses that the bankers are yet again giving themselves and called for the wealth of the banks to be used to benefit all in society, not just an elite.
Iain Dalton, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education Yorkshire organiser
Around 40 students and activists marched over two miles to County Hall in Truro. The demonstrators marched with placards saying 'Don't Con-Dem us to unemployment', chanting: "Education for the masses, not just for the ruling classes". The march was met with huge support from members of the public.
Upon arriving at County Hall, the protesters continued chanting and many members of staff and councillors offered their support.
Six protesters got into the main council meeting and began putting up anti-cuts posters and shouting "no ifs, no buts, no education cuts", before being removed. The short occupation forced the council to debate education cuts.
100 school, college, and university students marched through Leeds to Leeds City Labour council. Following the protest, there was a public meeting of 55 people at Leeds Met university to discuss where to take the campaign to save EMA.
The protest and meeting had a ridiculously heavy police presence. Around 30 police surrounded the meeting, so we refused to start while we were being intimidated. Eventually the police left and the meeting agreed to build for walkouts and protests at schools and colleges on the national day of action and to mobilise for the national demonstration in Manchester on 29 January.
Ian Pattison, Leeds Socialist Students
- Click here for full versions of these reports. Here's a link to an update on the Leeds Trinity occupation and plans to set up a student assembly in Calderdale and Kirklees, Yorkshire.
In The Socialist 19 January 2011:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news