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Strong police presence fails to scare away student protesters

By River Reporter Nov 10, 2011

By Rosie Williams

Thousands of protesters surged on London on November 9, a year after Millbank, for the student demonstration organised by the national campaign against fees and cuts.

Francesca Manning helped to organise the dozens of Kingston students who turned up for the event and she kept the mood lively by chanting well-known demonstration classics such as: “Students and workers, unite and strike,” through her megaphone.

“It was a really good show of solidarity,” said Manning, who studies politics and international relations at Kingston University. “But, it’s a shame that students were prevented from linking up with the electricians, who had called their strike specifically for that day.”

4,000 strong police force

Police officers used the controversial tactic of kettling on the striking electricians which prevented them from being able to march with the student demonstration.

“By making education cuts seem like they are something personal to students and this pay cut personal to electricians it prevents people from being able to link up the dots and see that this is all one big problem,” said Manning.

Police handed out leaflets during the event and warned demonstrators that they risked arrest if they did not stick to the agreed route.

The 4,000 officers policing the demonstration had been authorised to use rubber bullets if violence erupted.

“The threat of rubber bullets at a march for education was provocative and aggravating,” said Tom Erdem, who’s a second year politics and international relations student.

Kingston marches

The NCAFC has organised further events this month, which they say is to “keep the movement mobilised and step up the pressure”.

November 23 will see a ‘national day of action’ when an evening rally is due to be staged through Kingston, starting at the Richard Mayo centre at 7pm.

A public sector strike is then going to take place a week later, on November 30, when up to 3.5 million workers across the UK will take strike action and a Kingston march will take place starting at Penrhyn road at 9.30am.

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