Students clash with police as British lawmakers vote on fees
Angry demonstrators clashed with police in a student protest outside parliament Thursday as the coalition government faced its biggest test yet in a vote on proposals to triple university tuition fees.
Students surged into Parliament Square, in front of the Houses of Parliament, as lawmakers prepared to vote on moves to allow universities in England to charge annual fees of up to 9,000 pounds (14,200 dollars, 10,700 euros).
In ugly scenes, a handful of demonstrators clashed with police and tried to break through barricades erected around parliament, trying to hurl sections of fencing at the line of officers.
A smoke bomb was thrown, echoing violence in previous protests against the plans.
Many students held placards saying "Stop Fees and Cuts", as police struggled to control the crowds in Parliament Square, while other demonstrators headed towards Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's residence.
The proposal to raise fees has exposed deep tensions within the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition which came to power in May.
© 2010 AFP