Police, students clash in London

2010-12-09 22:23

kalahari.com

London - Masked rioters battled police outside parliament on Thursday as Britain's coalition government survived its biggest test yet in a vote to hike university tuition fees.

Dozens of officers and demonstrators were wounded as a student protest in the heart of London turned violent following the government's narrow victory in a vote in parliament.

The government suffered its first resignations over policy and the plans to raise fees exposed the deep strains within the seven-month-old coalition.

The government's majority was cut by three-quarters as lawmakers voted by 323 to 302 to raise the cap on annual tuition fees at English universities from 2012.

The basic level of fees will now climb to £6 000 with an upper limit of £9 000. The current cap is £3 290.

Outside the Houses of Parliament hardcore activists rained missiles on police protecting the building and clashed with police at other points around Parliament Square, with several officers and demonstrators wounded.

Flares, sticks, metal fences, rocks, snooker balls and paint bombs were among the missiles hurled at police in a battle that lasted hours.

Hooded youths repeatedly attacked police lines, torched benches and a security guard box in the square, smashed the doors and windows of the Treasury, or finance ministry, and vandalised a statue of wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.

The iconic red telephone boxes outside parliament, used in countless tourist pictures, were wrecked.

Several protesters suffered head wounds, one being taken away on a makeshift stretcher.

At least 22 protesters and nine police officers were injured, while nine people were arrested.

Extreme violence

Superintendent Julia Pendry of London's Metropolitan Police said it was "absolutely obvious" that people had come to the capital "with the intention of committing violent disorder" rather than peaceful protest.

Another spokesperson said the police were being subjected to "extreme violence".

The proposal to raise fees has exposed deep tensions within the Liberal Democrats, putting the strain on their coalition with the larger Conservative Party which came to power following the general election in May.

As they try to rein in Britain's record deficit, the plans amount to a reversal of one of the Lib Dems' flagship election pledges.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's party vowed to phase out tuition fees altogether if they won the election.

Of the 57 Liberal Democrat lawmakers, 28 voted with the government, while 21 voted against.

The coalition suffered its first resignations over policy when two Lib Dem parliamentary aides to ministers and one Conservative quit their posts in order to vote against the plans.

The Lib Dem U-turn has outraged students who voted for the centrist party and has sparked a series of demonstrations over the past month which have turned violent.

A defiant Clegg dismissed opponents of the plans as "dreamers" and insisted it was reasonable to make students pay more for their education at a time of deep cuts to public spending.

The rise in fees is also supported by the majority of universities. Graduates will begin to pay them once they earn more than £21 000 a year.

Read more on:    uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.