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Clashes as UK students protest tuition fees

Published time: November 10, 2010 16:41
Edited time: November 11, 2010 16:04

Tens of thousands of students took to the streets of London to protest against raising university tuition fees. But the peaceful demonstration descended into violence.

A small group of anarchists is being blamed for the clashes. They had gathered outside the Conservative Party Headquarters and began lighting fires, breaking windows and then stormed the building.

Fourteen people were injured and over fifty arrested.

The protests were over the government's decision to allow universities to hike tuition fees due to cuts in subsidies – a move that comes amid 25 per cent budget cuts across a number of sectors like defense, healthcare and housing benefits. The cost of a year's university tuition could triple to 9,000 pounds (US$ 14,000) a year.

James Pryor from the EU referendum campaign says the protest was just the beginning, and more is to follow.

“It’s coming home,” Pryor said. “We are seeing strikes again – albeit for slightly different reasons. We have had the Tube strikes, the fireman strikes, the BBC strike. People are feeling really frustrated. You can see them out in the streets. And I think we are going to see a lot more of it.”

­Fiona McEvoy from the UK Taxpayers Alliance, which has been closely watching where the ax will fall, believes that everybody is going to have to take a share of the pain in the UK.

“The country is in financial difficulty, we have an enormous debt, an enormous deficit to make up, and unfortunately government is trying to take action to do that – unfortunately these are necessary measures,” McEvoy told RT.“We do see a lot of money wasted as well – we are also seeing the huge salaries that are in the EU, we have a lot of profligacy, but I think that British taxpayers are very angry,” she added.

 “We’ve seen the contributions rise up – I think it’s gone up by 2.9 per cent,” the activist continued. “Unfortunately that’s enough to get people actually quiet red in the face, quite hotheaded, because we’ve seen massive cuts here. Local authorities are cutting back on their front line services and actually we don’t feel as British people that we get that much from the EU. We put a lot in. We don’t get an awful lot out.”