Students across the country have taken action today in a second wave of student protests. As yet, it does not seem that there will be a repeat of the violence seen on 10 November when Tory HQ was occupied.
Following the police admission that they underestimated the level of disorder that developed on 10 November, they are taking no risks today. Paul Lewis of the Guardian reports: “I’m reliably informed there are 800 officers deployed in London today — three times more than were on the streets for the far larger march on 10 November.”
Above, demonstrators clash with police. While this second wave of protests is more dispersed, with more than 25,000 students taking part in marches, walkouts, occupations, and direct action across the UK, the media spotlight is inevitably on London.
While there have not been any scenes akin to those at Millbank, protesters are angry. Above, a mob of students breaks into a police van.
By 3.15pm, the BBC reported that three students have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and theft. One policeman has been injured with a broken arm. Reports of “kettling” protesters mean that the debate on this method of crowd control is likely to reopen.
Above, protesters throw a firework at police.
Organised via social-networking sites, this demonstration is not officially affiliated with the National Union of Students, though its cause is the same: the planned rise in university fees and scrapping of educational maintenance allowance.
Many libraries have been occupied, including Oxford’s Bodleian Library. There have been marches and other direct actions in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bristol, Southampton, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
But while the action is spread across the UK today, the media spotlight — and police attention — is inevitably on London. It’s worth noting that the coalition has utilised a provision in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 to ban protest within one kilometre from any point on Parliament Square, despite its promise to prioritise civil liberties.