Thursday, November 25, 2010

Students turn up the heat on the ConDems: Thousands protest, walkout and occupy against fees and cuts!

More than 100,000 school, college and university students took to the streets yesterday to protest against the ConDem plans to increase tuition fees, savagely cut teaching budgets and scrap EMAs.

The day was truly inspiring and real escalation in the fight back to defend education for generations to come.

Thousands of students walked out of their schools in protest – for them the fee hike represents not just an outrageous policy but also a looming reality, which if introduced, will directly threaten their opportunities to go to university.

200 sixth-formers from Camden School for girls wrote to their teachers explaining the reasons why they walked out of their lessons to join the protests. Their message clearly articulates what is at stake.

They said: “As proud products of state education, we know how important it is that education remains equally accessible to all, and does not descend into a free market where one’s chances of getting into a good university are based not on ability, but on ability to pay.”

They added, “Some of us are unlikely to apply at all if the government go ahead with raising the cap to £9,000… We hope you understand our belief that if we do not act now, and act decisively, our futures, and those of all future Camdeners, could be under threat.”

Yesterday in towns and cities across Britain masses of young people acted decisively to defend the future of education. Thousands marched from London, to Manchester, to Leeds to Sheffield and beyond.

A wave of university occupations – starting with SOAS on Monday and now joined by Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London South Bank, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Plymouth, Roehampton, Royal Holloway, Sheffield, UCL, UEL, UWE – has also swept the country.

In Nick Clegg’s seat over 3,000 students marched into the city centre causing the police to close main roads. Following the march, around 100 students occupied lecture theatres at the University of Sheffield. The occupation voted to demand free education and an end to cuts in higher education funding. It also stated its general opposition to economically illiterate Tory led cuts to public services.

Over 150 students are currently occupying the University College London – with hundreds of people already signing their petition online.

Students at Birmingham University occupied the Aston Webb building and have called upon the University Vice-Chancellor who shamefully supports higher fees to resign.

This is just a snap shot of what was an absolutely inspiring day.

Best of luck to all the students in occupation!

We need to build on this momentum.

The next day of action next Tuesday (30th November) is the next key opportunity to demonstrate our anger against higher fees and education cuts.

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