Students are preparing for a fresh wave of protests on the eve of a Commons vote on university tuition fees.
The National Union of Students (NUS) called for protests on campuses across the country on December 8 – the day before Parliament votes on plans to raise the current fee cap.
On the day of the vote itself students and NUS officials will hold a rally and then lobby MPs inside the Palace of Westminster in an effort to persuade them to vote against any fee rise.
A 9,000-candle vigil – designed to represent the anticipated higher cap level of £9,000 – is planned if the vote passes.
An NUS spokesman said the demonstrations, which are being organised in conjunction with the University and College Union (UCU), would not involve mass protests in central London as they had when riots broke out at Millbank on November 10.
NUS President Aaron Porter said: “MPs can be left in no doubt as to the widespread public opposition to these plans or of the consequences of steamrollering them through Parliament.
“For the third time in less than a month thousands of students have taken to the streets to protest against the Government’s attacks on further and higher education.
“Despite repeated dismissals by Nick Clegg that these are uninformed protesters, students are intelligent, articulate people who are not being listened to by those in whom they placed their hope for a different politics.”
The decision to stage the crucial Commons vote on December 9 was made on Wednesday, as Liberal Democrats continued to agonise over whether to support the measure in the division lobbies.
Staging the vote on a Thursday – when many Scottish and Welsh nationalists and Northern Ireland MPs will have left for their constituencies – could make it easier for the Government to get it through without the Lib Dems.