Students will continue to march
October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
A student protest will go ahead on November 9 despite police threatening to ban the demonstration.
Student protests against the Commons vote to treble university tuition fees in December last year turned violent, with fires lit in Parliament Square and rocks thrown at police.
The violence was heightened when Prince Charles and wife Camilla’s Rolls Royce was attacked, cracking its windows.
The protest on November 9 is organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) and is officially backed by the National Union of Students (NUS).
The main target of the protest is the government’s higher education white paper, announced over the summer.
In negotiations with police last week, organisers of the protest agreed to march on the City, a decision implicitly approved by the police.
However, since then, senior police officials have u-turned on their decision, saying marching on the City would cause “traffic disruption”.
In a statement, the NCAFC said they would continue with the march, even if the police go ahead with the ban:
“The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts would like to reassure all those planning to attend the demonstration that whatever the outcome of negotiations it will go ahead, and will be planned safely and stewarded well.”
Commentators on the NCAFC’s website have voiced their intentions to continue with the march, regardless of the outcome of ongoing negotiations with the police.
Aleksandra posted, “I am going either way!”
The sentiment was also reflected in Jack’s comment, “Well I’m going, I hope people aren’t put off and still turn up!”
Members of the student unions have expressed their disappointment in the police decision to ban the march.
Sean Rillo Razcak, Vice President of the University of London Union, said: “I am saddened that the police feel that students should not be allowed our democratic right to protest.
“The inconvenience our march will cause is minimal in comparison to the government’s smashing of education and the welfare state.”
Kanja Sessay, the NUS Black Student’s Officers said: “I am shocked that the police feel it right to ban our march.
“The peaceful occupation outside St. Paul’s shows that the City has nothing to fear from people exercising their democratic rights.”
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts was founded at a conference at University College London in February last year. It is a coalition of students and workers fighting against rising fees and cuts in education.
Since its conception the NCAFC have organised, and been involved in, a number of protests throughout London, including a march on parliament in January this year.
The planned route for the march on November 9 is set to start at the University of London Union (ULU) on Malet Street, Camden at 12 noon. The march will then continue through the City and rally at Bank. Organisers are expecting tens of thousands to attend.