Students from the University of Glasgow travelled to London on November 19th to join in a protest against the UK government’s continuation of charging university students tuition fees.
The protesters, led by Student Representative Council President Breffni O’Connor and VP Education Caelum Davies, participated in the nationwide protest against tuition fees, which was largely organised by the the Student Assembly Against Austerity.
The protest was largely peaceful as it made its way from Birkbeck College to Parliament Square where events became more heated.
A group of anarchists who had attended the march proceeded to let off flares and began to tear town fencing that had been erected around the square.
Meeting little resistance from police, they burst into the square and encouraged other members to join them. Protesters raised concerns with this action as it damaged material being used by the ‘Save Shaker Aamer’ campaign, who were peacefully protesting for the release of a Londoner they believed to be unfairly imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
The rest of the protest swiftly assembled outside Westminster and were addressed by key figures of the political left including Caroline Lucas, a Member of Parliament for the Green Party; Diane Abbot, a Labour Party MP, and the Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennet.
While no Glasgow Students were injured or arrested, there are reports that a splinter group of the protest came into conflict with the Territorial Support Group of the Metropolitan Police outside Conservative Party Headquarters and a local ‘All Bar One’ pub.
‘The Student Assembly Against Austerity’ along with the ‘National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts’ organised the rally to muster support against tuition fees.
Stressing that “education should not be commodified”, they wished to highlight the increasing problem of debt that students today face, especially after the hiking of tuition fees in 2010. Their ultimate aim is the abolition of student tuition fees.
Breffni O’Connor said that: “Education is a right, not a privilege that can only be experienced by those with enough money in their bank account.
“Students from Glasgow Uni had an opportunity to get involved in political activism on a national level and I hope that it has sparked interest and passion within students, so they are mobilising and putting pressure on local and national politicians: those with the power to change things for the better”.