Press Coverage Along the Day + Updates

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New Statement out as police kettles protesters at Trafalgar Square:

Despite the Scotland Yard’s statement saying:

We have set up cordons around this area, with police at exit points. In small groups the protesters are being encouraged to leave the area via these exit points.
The agreed protest time was between 12-2 and this is now over, so we are encouraging protesters to leave Trafalgar Square enabling Londoners to get back to their normal routine
.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts was alerted that police is only allowing protesters to exit via police cordon’s one at the time!

This is what is considered by the police as “containment”, in other words, “kettling”, which was several times guaranteed to organizers it would not occur this time.

It is with indignation that the NCAFC sees itself, once more, being betrayed by police officials, who we were keen on cooperating with from the start.

We are denouncing and condemning the Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard for intimidating students and general protesters and their right to free association and organisation, as well as the clear victimisation protesters. We reprove any disciplinary actions taken by any institutions against students for exercising their democratic right to protest.

We heard that NCAFC’s Simon Hardy is giving an inflamed speech from Trafalgar’s Sq on bottom of Nelson’s column! We’ll try to get it filmed. — Most London protesters back at Trafalgar Square now

— The London Student reports on our stewards:

Police have been overheard speaking to NCAFC organisers, saying that they will not kettle the main protest at Trafalgar Square, so long as protesters agree not to head towards Parliament or Buckingham Palace. Students will be allowed to rally at Trafalgar Square, but should advances be made towards Whitehall then the Police may decide to kettle the protest.

— The group now turned right to Leicester Square to avoid kettle! — And protesters going down Charing Cross now (Trafalgar Sq next one would imagine…) — Picture sent by our Deputy Press Officer, Patrizia, who’s in the scene — Statement from the Met arguing the block of Whitehall:

However, today’s march set off at an earlier time than agreed. This meant that the march began without a police escort. The police escort was essential due to gas main works on one side of Whitehall.

Well we saw the police cordon there even before anyone started marching!!! — Bigger group of protesters in London now going down Chancery Lane… — NCAFC and University of the Arts London SU (SUARTS) Robyn Minogue reports:

Thousands of students shut down London with passers by clapping and waving, bus drivers hooting their horns. Chants of ‘Students and Workers Unite and Fight!’ Police seem pretty bewildered.

— Also: King’s College London and University of Nottingham occupied! — Meanwhile in Cambridge: Hundreds of sixth formers and school students are holding a sit-down in a shopping centre in Cambridge town centre — Thousands of students in London (something now getting close to 8000+) running around in orderly line across the centre. Now close to St Paul’s but planning to go on running, letting police follow up with them. Race of young students vs police officers? We wonder who’ll win… <grin!> — The London Student reports:

A police officer told a London Student reporter to move away from a group of protesters being contained by police or else they would put her in to the containment as well. The London Student reporter was trying to listen to the conversations between police and protesters.

— Our statement just got read out on BBC News LIVE! It reads:

After, in good faith, having provided thorough information and help to the London Metropolitan Police yesterday, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is appalled with the police aggressiveness towards students protesters in London today. Whitehall had been, despite the Met’s agreement with the route to follow, pre-emptively blocked. Several police vans (including one with horses for the mounted police) have been deployed in such a manner that can only be described as conspicuous bullying. Such misleading actions on behalf of a state institution are deplorable and unacceptable. There are rumours of tear gas, unreasoned physical violence towards very young people and general victimisation of protesters. Preventing the public from their democratic right to protest peacefully is a shame to any country describing itself as liberal and democratic.

— Protesters scattered around central London, after running away from police charges, around 4000+ group in Picadilly Circus. In our central we can hear sirens all over London. —

And in Manchester…

— Matthew Taylor in the Guardian: “There is a big police presence around Westminster, scores of vans parked up the side streets on Whitehall including at least one carrying police horses. A couple of hundred people gathered in Trafalgar Square, with a very vocal group gathered underneath Nelson’s Column chanting “give us back our EMA” as well as some rather rude things about Nick Clegg. The march set off down Whitehall as agreed, but half way down was a line of few hundred police. Demonstrators turned and ran back up towards Trafalgar Square, sprinting across Horse Guards Parade and generally scattering everywhere. Police are now giving chase across Horse Guards Parade. The demonstration is much smaller than last time, but there’s definitely two or three thousand here. There are very large numbers of police in central London today – as this picture from @filkaler on Twitter shows.” — In London Trafalgar Square as abandoned pre-emptively and students started marching down Whitehall… police seems to be blocking the way but it is uncertain. Here is a spot of coverage at BBC News – unfortunately we could only able to record the last few seconds, but here you go…

Comments

  1. In Newcastle we had a demonstration of 600- 700 students marching through town, half the numbers of last week for a number of reasons, the weather in the northeast means many schools had snow days. This meant there could be less school walkouts and more had people coming independently. But the mood was great and the march was more organized than last week, with marches on the roads delaying traffic with tailbacks of buses and cars into town making more of an impact.

    The mood was good and more people turned up to the occupation meeting afterwards making it the biggest occupation general meeting so far. With at least 100 people in the general meeting.

  2. Re the updated statement about the Kettling.

    You say its unfair that the police are kettling after it was guaranteed that this wouldnt happen.
    It was also said that the agreed times for the protests was 1200-1400. So as this event is still going on at 16:55 its fair to say that there have been let downs on both sides of the coin!!

  3. To clarify, the march through Cambridge town centre didn’t sit down, but did get applause from onlookers who stopped their shopping to watch the demo come past. Many protesters then joined the ongoing occupation at the Old Schools site.

  4. people have a right to peacefully march to parliament and such like; – this has of yet not been allowed for the students . . . if people give up on the right to do this then what will happen next . . . perhaps there should be a march as often as there can be until this is allowed again: – as rights like this cannot simply be swept away it would set a highly dangerous precedent?

  5. If you were or witnessed an arrest or an assult today please get in contact with us on 07946541511, we would like to match witnessess with those arrested/ assaulted. GBC Legal

  6. In Sheffield 100ish of us walked through the thick snow to Nick Clegg’s constituency office in a very peaceful protest (except a few snowballs)- you wouldn’t have thought it was from the riot police they stuck outside his office though. The auditorium in the Richard Roberts Building was then occupied (after another occupation last week), support us!!! It was an amazing day.

    http://sheffieldoccupation.tumblr.com/post/2050540497/all-photos-credit-marek-allen

  7. Dear Joe,

    the agreed times with the police where actually from 12noon (at Trafalgar Sq – all other places/ events started at 11am and police knew about that too) and 3pm.
    We saw police blocking Whitehall at 12noon already (their excuse: works on the road) – a breach of agreement was felt by the protesters and so, all other arrangements fell through.
    The kettling that took place yesterday was actually quite “soft” compared to last Wednesday so clearly this was not due to some sort of feeling of being let down (or else, in comparison to last week, they would have been much more disappointed). Ergo, kettling per se is used as a strategy of smothering democratic right to protest and mutating protesters good will and nature (as you probably know if you watched the BBC at any given point yesterday).
    So…

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