Student Unrest To Spread Throughout UK

Foreign Students's picture

After the student protest in London a few weeks ago, more student unrest is expected over the coming fortnight. Campus occupations in both Birmingham and Cambridge have caused disruptions in the last few days, and such action is expected to spread throughout the country in the lead up to the trade union strikes next week.

One occupation in Cambridge has already caused higher education minister David Willetts to abandon a speech after he was heckled by an audience of more than a hundred. On Tuesday night, one activist stood up during the minister's speech and read a prepared statement. Other demonstrators repeated the statement sentence by sentence- a common technique used by Occupy activists. The statement read:

"You can threaten to shoot us with rubber bullets; you can arrest us; you can imprison us; you can criminalise our dissent; you can blight a hundred thousand lives ... but you cannot break us because we are more resolute, more numerous, and more determined than you ... Go home, David."

After repeating this over and over, they eventually forced the minister to leave the lecture theatre and abandon his speech. The group are now occupying the hall and are said to be receiving support from academics bringing them food and supplies.

Unrest Spreading

Students from universities throughout the country are expected to participate in similar protests over the coming week, all organised by the student group National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts. One of the group leaders revealed that: "It's all terribly unpredictable. We may well see actions and occupations popping up all other the country today and in the coming week."

The occupations have a duel purpose; 1) to protest against the government reforms that would finalise the increased tuition fees, and 2) to show support for the public sector strikes planned for next Wednesday. On 30th November, up to 3 million public sector workers from 24 different unions are expected to strike against the government's plans to reform state pensions. It is thought that it will be the biggest day of strike action in Britain since 1979, in what was known as the Winter of Discontent.

With the governement seemingly unmoved so far by the protests and students showing no inclination of slowing down, it is unlikely that these issues will go away anytime soon.  


Share with friends