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…

Press Release 30 November Second Day of Action Against Fees and Cuts

Press Release 30 November Second Day of Action Against Fees and Cuts

Posters for 30 November

30th November Poster (colour)

30 November – Second Day of Action!

After today’s success it is important to keep it moving!

We shall not stop until we break the government’s cuts programme or we break the government.

What will you do?

30 November – Join Us!

Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action (Latest Updates)

STOP PRESS Last Minute Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action

Next Day of Action – 30 November!

Next Day of Action

Press Release 24th November Walkout and Day of Action

Press Release 24th November Walkout and Day of Action

EAN Conference Report

Four hundred people, mainly students but some teaching and support staff, attended the EAN conference at Kings College University on 31 October.

The conference was a good mix of plenary rally style meetings and workshops focusing on particular issues, like the economy, unions, the future of education and so on. Plenty of international speakers gave a flavour of the struggles going on across Europe, from France to Greece, with a student from Austria explaining the background to the occupations earlier this year against the Bologna process. The conference also heard from an FBU member who gave an excellent speech on the struggle of the fire-fighters in London against mass sackings.

The session on “Defeating Cuts in your Institution” saw a debate occur between NCAFC supporters and EAN members about how central the fight for free education is in the current situation. Everyone agreed that unity against cuts was central, building for the demonstrations and the anti cuts protests and actions over the autumn was a crucial focus, but NCAFC members also put the case that we could not drop free education as the NUS would still be lobbying the government for a graduate tax.

What marred the event somewhat was the final session where the debates and voting for the final resolution happened. Not only was the ordering of speakers for and against the motions quite weighted to the EAN organisers, the kind of NCAFC members had put in several amendments calling for either unity between the two campaigns or at least a joint conference in the spring with other organisations, like Youth Fight for Jobs, to discuss joint campaigning work. After each NCAFC speaker an SWP/EAN member jumped up to argue against unity, saying that of course they were in favour of it, but it would not be appropriate, or unity did not mean unity with other groups, or that unity would prevent us from being more effective as a campaign. Sadly these vacuous arguments seemed to have some purchase with the conference attendees who voted down calls for unity in favour of simply having EAN as some kind of loose network.

Simon Hardy motivated an amendment calling for EAN to build for and participate in the Free Education block on the November 10th NUS demonstration. Despite several EAN supporters in previous NCAFC meetings and other anticuts forums arguing against going on the Free Education block (because it would divide students and we needed maximum unity around the cuts was the argument at the time) the conference passed the NCAFC amendment by an overwhelming majority, One student argued in favour of fighting for Free Education by saying that if that policy put of the posh students who supported the Tories then they were not welcome (well those were not quite the words he used, but you will get the idea!).

Conference also agreed to back the day of action called by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for November 24th, the day that the increase in tuition fees is debated in parliament.

Now we need maximum unity across the student movement to organise walkouts and protests on that day – building the movement from the 10 November demonstration.

24 November – walkout against fees and cuts!

Students in Europe walk out – we should do it here

Now supported by:
Leeds University Against Cuts

Sussex University Against Cuts

National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

Motion to be tabled at the Take Back Education conference 31 Oct.

Make the walkout happen

Walkouts have been one of the major ways school and college students in Britain have traditionally shown their discontent.

They took place at hundreds of schools and colleges against the Iraq war in 2003, against “third world” debt in 2005, and several colleges walked out against cuts and privatisation in 2009-10, including the Dover Christ Church Academy this month.

University students haven’t staged a walkout for a while in Britain. But last year we did manage an impressive wave of occupations against the attacks on Gaza, and many universities occupied lecture theatres and even management offices against cuts.

Now, with the very nature of further and higher education under threat school students, college students and university students need to fight together. This isn’t just phrasemongering – if we are to defeat the proposals of the Browne Review we need to build a mass movement like the current general strikes in France.

That’s why a school, college and uni walkout out is a vital first step for us to take, demonstrating our unity in action.

JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT

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Organise a time

First off, we need to find and talk to the small groups of students in our school/college/university who are most in favour of walking out.

Agree what time you will meet up on the morning of 24 November, BEFORE the official walkout time of 11am – 10am is probably a good time, at school, 8.30am might be better.

This will allow you to catch students on their way into school/college/uni and get them to join the protest on the day itself.

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Spread the word

Use email, facebook, texts, phone calls to advertise the time AND PLACE of your protest. But it may be wise to set up an anonymous email address and facebook profile so you don’t end up getting personally victimised.

If at any point you are asked who has organised the protest, say it “has been organised collectively by lots of students together”
You should organise some leafletings by downloading our walkout leaflet, writing on the details of your local meet-up point. Take it to your local cornershop for photocopying, cut them up and hand it out to as many students as possible.

If you go to school, you should be discreet about doing this, don’t hand them out openly next to the entrance of your school or you will get in trouble. But as long as you are not on school property, you have a democratic right to hand out leaflets.

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Coordinate

In towns and cities where colleges, schools and universities are close together, we want the protests to converge.

In the weeks before the walkout, contact us if you need help finding the people organising walkouts at other schools/colleges/unis in your area.

In particular, we would like to see university students planning to march around their campus, bursting into lecture theatres and spreading the word.

Then they should march to the next school/college/uni, picking up local protests, so the demonstration gets larger and larger. This is called a “flying picket”.

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On the day

Make sure you turn up to your initial meeting point (which should be in a highly visible location) with placards, whistles, and good chants. We will list some suggestions below

Grab students planning to go into their lessons, and persuade them to join your protest.

After creating lots of noise and pulling in lots of students it is time to take to the streets! Don’t be afraid to block traffic if you have enough people and most importantly:

AS SOON AS YOU WALK OUT SEND TEXTS TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS IN DIFFERENT SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES TELLING THEM YOU’VE WALKED OUT AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THE SAME.

When you’ve linked up and converged with other walkouts in your area march around your local town and city.

You can finish up with speeches, a meeting on how to continue the struggle, or even occupying a building at the local university if uni students agree this is possible.

As soon as you can, send short reports and photographs of your demonstration to us.

Chants

“Education is a right! When they say cut, we say fight!”
“When they say cut back, we say fight back!”
“What do we want? Free education! When do we want it? Now!”
“When they cut back our education, we go into occupation”

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Slogans for placards

“F*ck fees”
“Education is a right”
“Down with Browne!”
“Keep big oil out of education”
“There are some things money can’t buy, but for education there’s Mastercard”

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Postering to advertise the walkout

(not recommended)

This is illegal. Apparently people prepared to take this risk generally do it as follows: it is possible to put up posters with details of a meeting coming up to try and get more people to it. A3 sized posters stand out. Making the image simple, and if the posters have a few words on them then it is a good idea to make them stand out. People often print the posters on A4 then blow it up on the photocopier later.

People who flypost get a small bucket and a paste brush (this can be quite expensive, so you could just use a normal paint brush) a bottle of tap water, a packet of wall paper paste and a plastic bag to carry it all in.

Because flyposting is illegal and the cops and security can give you a hard time if they catch you doing it, flyposting teams have minimum three people in them: one to paste, one to stick up the posters, one or more to keep look out.

Of course, we are not recommending this!