Fees demo brings chaos to streets

Fees demo brings chaos to streets

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Protesters target a police van in Westminster

Protesters angered by proposals to increase university tuition fees have brought violence and chaos to the streets once again.

Tens of thousands of students were joined by lecturers and parents during a national day of action against the controversial changes.

Organisers said the marches, occupations and sit-ins were an opportunity for protesters to make their voices heard peacefully.

But Westminster bore the brunt of lawlessness a fortnight after the Millbank riot as two police officers and 11 people were injured.

At least 15 protesters were arrested for offences including violent disorder, theft and criminal damage as barriers were thrown and fires lit in the street. The clashes centred around a stranded police van that was ransacked and looted a short distance from the entrance to Downing Street.

Police were forced to “kettle” hundreds of protesters for around four hours a short distance from the Houses of Parliament as tensions ran high – a tactic defended by the Met as a necessary “last resort” to control the crowd after some demonstrators became violent towards police.

Thousands also joined protest marches in Manchester, Liverpool and Brighton as pupils walked out of school in Winchester, Cambridge, Leeds and London, while students occupied buildings in Oxford, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bristol, Plymouth and in the capital.

Two protesters were arrested in Cambridge for obstruction, one in Liverpool for egg throwing and four in Manchester for public order offences and obstruction. Two people, a 15-year-old boy and 41-year-old man, were also arrested in Brighton.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said: “People obviously have a right to engage in lawful and peaceful protest, but there is no place for violence or intimidation.”

The protests were dubbed Day X, with parents, teachers and trade unionists invited to join students at rallies organised by the Education Activist Network and campaign group Youth Fight For Jobs.

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