Monthly Archives: December 2010

People now being released, one by one

Protesters trapped on Westminster Bridge are now being released one by one by police.


Hours go by, 700 people still kettled on Westminster Bridge

22:32 A view from the bridge

After a whole day of protests, around 700 people are being kept on Westminster Bridge by police.

The police are not releasing any protesters at the moment and have given no justification to those kettled for their current containment tactics.

London Student reporter Andrew de Castro, who remains on the bridge with the protesters, said: “Police led students onto Westminster Bridge at 9pm after over an hour of being kettled. Around 700 are now contained on the bridge, with police refusing to justify thir actions, even to legal observers.”

Legal observers attend protests as witnesses to police actions for the protesters.

Castro added: “No end in sight, no provisions and still no legal justification.”

Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: “The response from our officers has been one of bravery, professionalism and determination to control an extremely challenging situation and maintain peace and order on the streets of the capital.”

Latest statement from New Scotland Yard at 20.00 on 9 December 2010

Police completely condemn the outrageous and increasing levels of violence that some of the protestors are now involved in.

This has nothing to do with peaceful protest, students are involved wanton vandalism including smashing windows in Oxford and Regent Streets. Innocent Christmas shoppers are being caught up in the violence and disruption.

It has gone so far that a car that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were travelling in through the West End was attacked. Police managed the situation and they were unharmed.

There have now been 15 arrests:

– eight for violent disorder

– two for arson

– two for assault on police

– one for criminal damage

– one for drunk and disorderly

– one for theft

UCL Education Officer on BBC

Michael Chessum, Education officer at UCL Students’ Union, spoke to the BBC after the vote.

He said: “The story that history will remeber is that this Government has sold out.”

Responding to the violence he refused to support or condemn violent acts but added: “Breeze blocks aren’t particularly constructive.”

Aaron Porter responds to vote

From Aaron Porter, NUS President,

I have never been prouder of the student movement. People said that students had become apathetic, students were out for themselves and not interested in politics. We proved them wrong, again and again and again.

Over fifty thousand people turned up to support our campaign in November, dozens of local spontaneous demonstrations have taken place since, there have been scores of occupations and hundreds of thousands have taken action across the country for future generations of students. And just today hundreds of people have lobbied their MPs and demonstrated their opposition to the Government’s flawed plans.

We have had the support of lecturers and teachers, of trade unionists, of school children, of social movements, of journalists, of campaigning organisations, of parents. Our friends in the Nations have worked tirelessly in supporting our efforts, we really couldn’t have done it with out them. Their victories will undoubtedly influence our campaign in the future and we congratulate them and thank them for all that they have done. I thank all of these people and yourselves for your solidarity and tireless work.

I congratulate you and I urge you to continue the fight. It has been an astonishing, amazing and unprecedented campaign and it must go on.

There has been much debate of the politics and the policies of these proposals over the last few weeks. And it is clear from the exchanges in the chamber today that NUS has been critical in shaping the debate.

We have had the support of the Labour Party. We have had the support, and we should not forget it, of many grass roots members of the Liberal Democrats, and at least some of its MPs, who have bravely stood up to the whips and voted with us tonight. We have had the support of some Conservatives who understand the damage to social mobility that would be caused by this measure. There is opposition to this plan right across the political spectrum. Not a matter of right versus left, but so clearly a matter of right versus wrong.

We have had the support of many people who are still at school. Their commitment and action has been an inspiration to us, and they show us that the student movement has a strong future.

We will never forget what happened here tonight, and we will never forgive those who have betrayed us.

We will hold them to account for their lies and their cowardice, and the destruction they have caused to our education system.

We are still in the fight of our lives. It goes on; on Monday we will be opposing the slashing of the EMAs for the poorest students in further education. We will be opposing the regressive elements of the Government white paper in the new year and we will continue to oppose a government that believes there is no public benefit from arts, humanities and social science.

I feel so honoured to be the NUS President at this time. The student movement has never been stronger and we must keep up the fight.

Thank you,
Aaron Porter
NUS President