British students in fresh protest over university fees

24th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British students took to the streets Wednesday for fresh protests against government plans to triple university fees, after showing their anger by hanging an effigy of the deputy prime minister.

Students gathered for a march in London and protests were planned in colleges and universities across Britain against plans by Prime Minister David Cameron's government to raise fees as part of widespread public spending cuts.

A demonstration against the policy two weeks ago turned violent as protesters stormed the London headquarters of Cameron's Conservative party.

One of the protesters, 18-year-old Edward Woollard, appeared in court Wednesday to plead guilty to violent disorder after admitting throwing a fire extinguisher off the roof of the eight-storey building on November 10.

"Mr. Woollard is pleading guilty and I make it very clear he is very sorry for his actions," the teenager's lawyer Matt Foot told City of Westminster Magistrates Court, before the case was referred for sentencing at a later date.

Woollard was one of 66 people arrested during the last protests, which began peacefully but ended with dozens of people forcing their way into the building, smashing windows and vandalising furniture.

During Wednesday's fresh day of protest, the march in London was expected to target the headquarters of the Liberal Democrat party, which shares power in the coalition government with the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems and their leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, have become a focus for anger over the fees hike because they explicitly promised during May's election campaign to oppose any increase.

A small group of protesters hung an effigy of Clegg from a noose on Tuesday night as the deputy premier gave a speech in north London.

The protest in the capital was accompanied by a heavy police presence, after officers were caught off guard by the earlier violent demonstration, the first such clashes over the government's austerity measures.

© 2010 AFP

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