British students take to streets in fresh fees protest

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More than 1,000 students took to the streets of London Tuesday in the third day of protest this month against government plans to triple university tuition fees.

Braving snow and freezing temperatures, the students gathered at Trafalgar Square but swiftly took off in small groups across the city in an apparent bid to avoid containment by police.

Ignoring the planned march route, they ran past government buildings in Whitehall and streamed down Oxford Street, London's main strip of shops, flanked by police officers either side.

Protests were also planned in other British cities in the third national day of action against Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to raise tuition fees as part of a package of widespread spending cuts.

Although there appeared to be a few scuffles with police on Whitehall, there was no early signs of the violence that marred two previous protests.

About 10,000 students and school children took to the streets of London on November 24, attacking a police van and starting fires, and on November 10 a crowd of up to 50,000 ran riot and smashed up the offices of Cameron's party.

Police admitted to being caught off guard in the first protest and last week they responded with a heavy security presence.

They kept thousands of protesters in one area for several hours, a controversial tactic known as kettling, and one that Tuesday's fleet-footed demonstrators appeared determined to avoid.

© 2010 AFP

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