UTV News - NI students in London fees protests

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NI students in London fees protests

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Students from Northern Ireland have been taking part in the massive protests in central London over tuition fees, which descended into violence at the Tories' headquarters.
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A number of police officers were among the injured when demonstrations by up to 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters descended into chaos at Millbank Tower, next to the River Thames.

The march, organised by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union, started off peacefully - moving from Whitehall, past Downing Street and Parliament.

But a group of protestors later smashed their way into the headquarters of the Conservative Party, shattering windows and burning placards.

One student from Belfast, who is a first year at Kingston University, told UTV there was a lot of support for the protestors as proposed cuts would close the door to third-level education on many prospective students.

But amid loud chants of "No ifs, no buts - no education cuts", he added of the violence: "You can never condone it really - I'm against the violence. Peaceful protest, that's what it's about."

We’re doing this to peacefully but strongly let politicians and others hear our voices – that we do not want increases in student fees.

Fiona Kidd, Queen’s University student

Fiona Kidd, from Queen's University, Belfast, also took part in the protests - but condemned the disturbances.

"That is not why Queen's University travelled over 400 miles to get here, it's not why NUS managed to demonstrate the largest student movement in over two decades," she said.

NUS president Aaron Porter said a small minority of protesters had "hijacked" the march and described the violence as "despicable".

His Northern Irish counterpart - NUS-USI President Ciarnan Helferty - has also condemned the violent actions of "rogue protestors".

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt added that the actions of a minority should not distract from the message.

"The overwhelming majority of staff and students on the march came here to send a clear and peaceful message to the politicians," she said.

"The actions of a minority, out of 50,000 people, is regrettable."

The protesters in the Tory HQ building and on the roof released a statement which said: "We oppose all cuts and we stand in solidarity with public sector workers, and all poor, disabled, elderly and working people.

"We are occupying the roof in opposition to the marketisation of education pushed through by the coalition government, and the system they are pushing through of helping the rich and attacking the poor.

"We call for direct action to oppose these cuts. This is only the beginning of the resistance to the destruction of our education system and public services."

© UTV News

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At 15:42 on 11 November 2010, Ally wrote:
John - Stop being so simple minded, some of us spent 7 hours travelling to get to that demonstration - setting off at 5.30 in the morning! How much were your uni fees? I doubt they were £20 000, as this governement is proposing. The only reasoin why the LimDems are in the coalition is because they got students to vote for them - they wanted our vote - they've betrayed us!
At 12:58 on 11 November 2010, John Kessnit wrote:
The violence in London was totally unacceptable yet we have "apologists" on here trying to some how justify it. Students are NOT entitled to anymore than any other citizen in the UK - it is time they realised this and that society owes them nothing! I hope those involved in the violence are caught, brought before the courts and jailed and as for their degree courses well all grants given them should be removed and sued to help pay for the damage caused and injured police officers. Want a degree - get a job, pay the fees! I did!
At 09:42 on 11 November 2010, ROBERT wrote:
WELL BRIAN BY SUPPORTING THOSE LITTLE CLOWNS I HOPE YOUR HAPPY WITH YOURSELFS TODAY I LOVE THE WAY THESE GROUP SAID IT STOOD AGAINIST CUTS TO ALL SECTIONS OF THE WORKFORCE BY WRECKING THE PLACE ALL THEY DID WAS TAKE MONEY OUTTA THE PUBLIC PURSE AND TAKE POLICE OFFICERS AWAY FROM THERE NORMAL DUTIES SO THEY PROB HELPED CRIMINALS YESTERDAY SO WELL DONE U SILLY PEOPLE
At 01:17 on 11 November 2010, Confused wrote:
John is obviously very upset he doesnt have an education. as for delaying growing up, i wonder who will perform life saving surgery on him if he needed it, if indeed in his views everyone skips university and works? there isn't enough jobs as it is, of course people need to educate their kids! typical out of touch stupid tory drivel from John!
At 01:16 on 11 November 2010, confused wrote:
John is obviously very upset he doesnt have an education. as for delaying growing up, i wonder who will perform life saving surgery on him if he needed it, if indeed in his views everyone skips university and works? there isn't enough jobs as it is, of course people need to educate their kids! typical out of touch stupid tory drivel from John!
At 22:17 on 10 November 2010, John wrote:
John - not all students drink or smoke their money away. Truth be told, I was at University in Liverpool from 1986 - 1989 and my father had to bank-roll me. He was teacher. I went to uni with friend whol lived 2 miles away and was the son of a wealthy farmer and had ALL his fees paid. Shameful! So what has changed? When recent NI students displayed anti-social behaviour here in Belfast on St. Patrick's day 2 years ago, they were filmed on CCTV which was then sent to both Uni's - who studied the footage - and promptly expelled the offending students. That is a lesson the English Uni's should take on board. Society does not need this thuggery by 'children' who see themselves as adults. Let them pay the costs of a mortgage, family, daily living costs and insurance...then they'll know what it's like to be an adult!
At 20:24 on 10 November 2010, John wrote:
These so-called students are protesting against cuts to their grants & educational system in other words they are protesting against having their alcohol & drug money curtailed more likely.... There already is thousands of people in the United Kingdom who have University degrees which are'nt worth the paper they are written on due to the current economical climate, A-Level examinations seem to be getting easier year upon year putting a massive burden on the Public-Purse, do we really need to have so many egg-heads and Anoraks in the UK with no jobs to be filled? Come the weekend it is clear for all to see where the tax-payer's money is going, pee'd up against the wall at local bars & clubs.... My personal opinion is that Students in University are just avoiding growing-up and avoiding reality & WORK for another 3/4 years.... And on an ending note I wonder who funded the NI students to travel, US the tax-payer no-doubt!!!! After all the rioting we seen on tv tonite I truly hope this cements the Governments planned actions....
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