Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/651/10812
Condemn brutal policing of students
Brutal policing faced the students protest outside parliament on Day X as tuition fees debated, photo Suzanne Beishon (Click to enlarge)
As parliament prepared to vote on Thursday 9 December on the trebling of tuition fees, 35,000 marched to defend their futures.
Once again, many of the young people protesting will not be directly affected by these attacks, but are campaigning for the young people who follow them into education.
Joining them were trade unionists with banners from PCS, RMT, UCU, CWU, Unison, NUT, Unite and the National Shop Stewards Network, and many parents and family members.
Since Thursday's demonstration, many workers are expressing their sympathy with the young people who were caught up in the scenes of fury and frustration outside parliament.
As MPs voted to destroy the futures of young people, they were protected by massed ranks of riot police, vans and horses, intent on crushing the young people who had the courage to stand up to them.
For weeks, school, college and university students have protested, facing extremely heavy-handed policing every time.
Routes agreed with police have been blocked, young people have been viciously kettled for hours on end, taunted and provoked.
Over 200 had been arrested even before Thursday's events. Despite all this, young people have continued to peacefully protest, retaining the support of their families, trade unionists and the general public.
And then on Thursday, when thousands upon thousands of young people marched in the hope that their voices might have been heard, they were faced once again with a massive police deployment.
The vast majority of Thursday's demonstrators were not involved in throwing missiles or any other violence, despite facing 'kettling' and police violence and intimidation.
Many students correctly expressed the view that the government would be defeated by mass action, not by a minority throwing things.
At the same time the blame for the scenes outside parliament was rightly laid at the feet of the government and the police.
As one student said: "We've been kettled for six hours, charged by police horses and batons, while the millionaires in government take our right to education away from us.
"No wonder students feel frustrated. The millionaires who own the press are reporting that we are violent, but in reality a whole generation is having its future violently torn away from it."
A student at SOAS university in London who took part in the demonstration, said: "The police were responsible for the violence yesterday, it was after hours of provocative policing and students being denied democratic rights".
As the Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Education have argued, the way forward is through organisation, democratically controlled stewarding to protect protesters, and the building of mass action of students and workers together.
I watched the mounted police charge three or four times and the riot squads baton people indiscriminately. I saw one girl hit who had turned to help her friend up to avoid her being trampled. People were screaming for their friends still trapped in the kettle and the police were pushing people over who tried to wait to meet them.
The police were a disgrace, perhaps partly from nerves and over-exaggeration of who was in the crowd - to them everyone was an anarchist, when there were probably more school students in their uniform.
In The Socialist 15 December 2010:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students