Day X2 – London students defy police to march against the cuts 30.11.2010

Student protests

On 30 November 2010, FRFI supporters were among over 4000 students demonstrating in central London against the increasing commodification of education and the brutal cuts being inflicted upon the working class to pay for capitalism’s crisis.

The National Campaign against Cuts and Fees (NCAFC) called the ‘Day X2’ protest to coincide with a parliament debate on the white paper discussing imminent tuition fee increases. The march assembled around Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square at 12.30pm and planned to take a short route to Parliament Square along a route agreed with the police.

A short way along the pre-planned route, the police formed a thick line across the road reinforced with metal barricades.  Fearful of being kettled again (kettling is the police tactic of containing protestors for hours at a time in small areas), the marchers turned around and sprinted through St James Park, attempted to reach Parliament Square. Flying squads of the Territorial Support Unit used violent tactics to try and re-apply the kettle and make arrests. A UCL student attempting to avoid a kettle was rugby-tackled by police into railings near Westminster Abbey and there are reports that police were armed with CS gas.

After nearly being kettled twice, the protestors changed tactics. Despite being briefly split by police lines, the march advanced through the main streets of central London and finally shut down traffic in the City of London close to the Bank of England.

By around 4pm, the police finally managed to establish a kettle in Trafalgar Square, holding protesters in the freezing cold for over four hours.

It is clear that the repressive apparatus of the State was sending a message: even peaceful demonstrations challenging government policy are unacceptable.

Once again, as on the last protest it is the young working class school students, facing the withdrawal of the vital Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) that are acting as the vanguard in leading direct action. In total over 153 arrests were made on this demonstration alone. They must be defended.

The capitalist press says it is sickened by the ‘violence’ of these young protestors, yet it does not blink an eye at the tyranny of the working class being made to pay for the crisis, nor the violent repression of protests by the police. We must respond to these naysayers - "No justice, no peace!"