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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…