More Protests in York and North Yorkshire over fees
6:25am 24th November 2010
Students to Walkout in Protest Against Rising Tuition Fees and Education Cuts Today
Leeds University Union is backing a student walkout against rising tuition fees and education cuts today. At 11am students will walk out of lectures. But, from 8:30am students will be leafleting across campus to encourage other students to walk out with them. At 12:30pm students will march from Parkinson Steps, Leeds University alongside Leeds Metropolitan University and college students in Leeds to a protest at Victoria Square, where we will be joined by school students on strike. So far there are planned walkouts at least 8 education institutions across the city; Leeds University, Leeds Met, Park Lane College, Notre Dame, Leeds College of Art, Leeds College of Music, Roundhay High School, and Allerton Grange High School.
Ian Pattison, Press Officer for Leeds University Against Cuts, said “Today represents a dynamic shift in the student movement. Students have offered a lead in the fight against the cuts, and it’s the responsibility of the leadership of our movement to take that forward. We’re not expecting to shut down the universities today. But a successful student strike raises the question of who owns the universities, who does education belong to? A successful student walkout at Leeds University and on other campuses could inspire workers and students. So at the next day of action, we can shutdown education, with a national student strike against crippling tuition fee rises and education cuts.”
The walkout and day of action has the support of a whole host of groups on campus. Ellen Macpherson and Laura Ulanowski, 2nd year German students, and members of the Save the British Council Language Assistantship Scheme said “As a result of the funding cuts language students are going to be denied the opportunity to teach in there year abroad. We’re protesting on the 24th because we’re part of the anti-cuts movement, and we want to represent our cause.”
School students planning on walking out have also been in contact with Leeds University Against Cuts. Seyamak Shaghouei, Alleton Grange Against Cuts, said “I don’t think it’s right to cut our futures. I don’t think it’s right to cut the education budget, particularly when billions in wasted on Trident nuclear weapons or on the bankers. Education is a right. This is the start. Things won’t change straight away. But today we’re going to show that kids aren’t inferior.”
Leeds University Against Cuts (LUAC) was formed last October in response to the announcement by Leeds University of compulsory redundancies as part of a £35million cuts package. LUAC mobilised students in support of staff who were balloting for strike and organised several demonstrations against cuts on campus. It has recently been involved in campaigning to keep the Student Union run bookshop open which faces closure in December, as well as organising a feeder march to the recent Leeds Against The Cuts protest against the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is encouraging all protest groups to come forward and talk to officers about their intentions ahead of a proposed national day of action by students.
The day of action is being referred to as a national student walkout and may involve different forms of protest across the country. The MPS is preparing an appropriate and proportionate policing plan for whatever action may occur in London.
Commander Bob Broadhurst, who heads up the MPS Public Order branch and is Gold for the event, said:
"We understand that Londoners may be concerned about this proposed day of action given the events which occurred in London during the NUS March on November 10.
"We would like to reassure people that we are doing all we can to make sure those who want to peacefully protest are able to do so, but we will not tolerate criminal activity, violence and disorder.
"I would encourage anyone who wants to protest next Wednesday to work with us now ahead of the day, so that we know their intentions and we can work together to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.
"The Met has long respected and protected the right to protest and we will continue to do so, but anyone who plans to take to the streets of London intent on disorder, violence and crime should understand that it won't be tolerated and they will be arrested."
Anyone wishing to contact the public order planning branch should ring 0207 230 9812.
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