A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Student Rioters Smash Tory Headquarters

Yesterday, students armed with anything that wasn't bolted down, swarmed the streets of London to protest the proposed tax hikes in tuition by the Coalition government. The "peaceful protest" that was fifty-thousand strong deteriorated into a free-for-all as anarchists (most of them from other fringe, left-wing organizations) smashed and kicked the windows of  Millbank Tower (Tory headquarters) to voice their anger. Not since the poll tax riots of 1990 have riots of this size broken out in the streets of the city.

The violence continued unabated, as students smashed windows, and took over the building trapping the Conservative Party chairman, Sayeeda Warsi with her staff in the building. They were unharmed, but alarmed at what occurred. One student who had climbed to the top of Millbank (along with others) hurled a fire extinguisher at the police. The police were overwhelmed and did little to stop the rioting. It took a special squad to finally come in after extensive damage was done to finally make arrests and disperse the group.

The protest was organized by the NUS (National Union of Students) who were quick to condemn the violence. Students from this organization told how they were having their "peaceful protest" as others seemed to take over the protest and turned it into a path of destruction.

In order to understand why the students were so incensed, one needs to understand that up until the 1990's, university schooling was free in Great Britain. The government paid for university students to go to school. Then, as austerity measures set in, the government raised the tuition to approximately £3,000 a year. The proposed hike would have tripled the amount per year which upset students all across Great Britain, mostly because it would also mean plunging a lot of students into huge debts  that will take forever to get repaid.

I thought that it was a good thing that students were organizing a peaceful protest, but as usual, the lunatic "have-nothing-better-to-do-but-waste-my-time-and-benefits-money" invaded the protest and turned it into a circus that damaged public property and certainly the chances of the well-meaning students to make as clear an impact as they deserved.