Student fee hike protests turn violent
Published 11/11/2010 | 05:00
PROTESTING students smashed windows at the complex housing the headquarters of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party in London yesterday, in the most violent protests yet against proposed austerity measures.
The students were rallying against plans to cut funding to universities and increase tuition fees.
They broke glass on the ground floor of the 27-storey Millbank Tower on the north bank of the River Thames, close to the Houses of Parliament, as the march turned violent. Demonstrators started a fire outside the building, burning effigies of Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Police said eight people -- both officers and protesters -- suffered light injuries.
Mr Cameron's coalition government plans to allow British universities to charge as much as £9,000 (€10,500) a year for tuition, almost triple the current level, as the government seeks to cut subsidies to colleges.
Around 30 students managed to get on to the roof of the tower to unfurl a banner that read "No to Cuts".
Earlier yesterday, during a trip to China, Mr Cameron defended fee rises to students at Beijing's Peking University. "In the past we have been pushing up the fees on overseas students and using that as a way of keeping them down for domestic students," Mr Cameron said. "Now we have done the difficult thing. We have put up contributions for British students."