As few as 30 Kingston students turned out for an otherwise successful anti-austerity protest in central London.
By Joe Stanley-Smith, Konstantinos Lianos and Lesley-Anne Morley
Around 150,000 people marched peacefully through London to Hyde Park demanding an end to austerity, including around 1,500-2,000 on a student-specific feeder march.
“I think this level of turnout is a shame,” said Jake Mead, an environmental hazards and hazards management student. “It’s a problem across Britain. Young people are not politically aware and don’t know their own strength. I don’t blame people for not marching. I am disappointed however that so many of our youth have fallen into the trap of thinking that they can’t make a difference.”
The march, which was over a mile long, had been called by the Trade Union Congress and culminated in a 100,000-strong rally in Hyde Park.
There was music, and speeches from union leaders and activists.
Labour leader Ed Miliband also spoke, but was booed by some of the crowd when he said that a Labour government would also have to make cuts.
“It’s right that we level with people that there would still be hard choices. I have said whoever was in government now, there would be some cuts,” he said.
KU’s Labour Society took a group of students to the demo. One of their members, Josh Gutierrez, said: “It came off to many of us in the crowd as a hypocritical criticism of the Coalition, that he could condemn their cuts and still champion his own.”
Handful of KU students
Some Kingston students who did attend met at Kingston and Waterloo stations and joined the student feeder march by University of London Union, which merged with the main march by the River Thames.
“There was a great atmosphere on the march,” said Roisin Carden, who studies sociology and media. “It was obviously a day about politics but people were dressed up and dancing and having a great time.”
There were no arrests during the main march, but two Black Bloc activists were arrested for assault on a police officer during scuffles following failed occupations in Boots and other shops in Oxford Circus.