Yet even more demonstrations have been lead by students recently in opposition to the rise in tuition fees and cuts in public spending. The protests, held in London and Manchester, were largely peaceful on this occasion but nonetheless the police made several arrests.
In London, thousands of students marched through Whitehall and Westminster to oppose the government raising tuition fees to a maximum £9,000 per year, which Cambridge University has since announced it will be charging. Many of the protesters showed solidarity with the Egyptian protesters by wearing badges and joining demonstrations outside the Egyptian embassy.
Students stopped at Topshop on the Strand to shout abuse aimed at Sir Phillip Green. The students were angered by the Topshop owner’s tax arrangements and chanted “pay your tax”. Once again a small group of protesters attempted to break into the Conservative’s Millbank headquarters, yet any trouble remained limited after a handful of people were arrested.
Events at the Manchester march proved to be a bit more dramatic, with tensions rising within student groups and causing internal divisions, especially with regard to the National Union of Students. Many students have been calling for a more active approach from the NUS and even a more militant leadership, opinions that came to the forefront at the march.
Aaron Porter, president of the NUS, had to have a police escort remove him from angry crowds who were calling for his resignation. Mr. Porter was meant to be speaking at the protest and request unity within the NUS after dividing opinions on the conduct of demonstrations and sit-in protests caused problems, yet the students turned on him and said he is “just a Tory too”. When the NUS vice-president Shane Chowen tried to address the crowd, he was greeted with eggs and oranges being thrown at him by a small group of protesters.