Demonstrators clash with police as students campaign for free education
Students took to the streets of London today to march on Parliament in a bid to voice their displeasure at the UK's extortionate tuition fees. Organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, an estimated 5,000 students congregated today to send a message to David Cameron that they demand change.
Since the coalition government increased tuition fees to £9,000 a year, students now leave university with an average debt of £44,035 hanging round their necks. Comparatively, Germany just scrapped tuition fees, describing charging for university education as "socially unjust".
The protesters set off from Malet Street and headed down Whitehall towards Parliament Square, with group breaking away from the march and scuffling with police over chants of "stick your fucking fees up your arse".
Black bloc demonstrators in black balaclavas, armed with stinkbombs and paint, pushed over metal barriers and attempted to storm Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ). There were reports of a few arrests, although the total number has not yet been confirmed by Metropolitan Police.
The National Union of Students (NUS) declined to take part in today's march, citing disability issues and an "unacceptable level of risk" to its members. Its headquarters were accordingly hit by aggrieved protesters with lashings of blue paint and the word "scabbs" (sic) scrawled all over the building.
Today's march is thought to be the biggest student protest since the initial tuition fees protest in 2010, although the estimated 5,000 total fell short of organisers' hopes to draw 10,000 protesters.
Earlier in the day, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett gave a speech encouraging students to vote and Green MP Caroline Lucas addressed the crowd, reminding them that "education should not be commodified".
It'll be interesting to see how David Cameron responds to the protests. Unfortunately, he probably won't give a shit. Sign this petition to abolish student fees.