In contrast to the violent 2010 student demonstration in London, Wednesday’s mass march in the capital passed off peacefully.

The march, organised by the National Union of Students, saw several thousand students take to central London’s streets.

They were protesting “against the impact of government reforms to further and higher education”, according to demo2012.org, the official website for the march.

student demo

Lectures are off: Thousands of students demonstrated against the Coalition's stance on higher education on Wednesday

It said: “Education should open doors, but the government is slamming them shut, both for today’s students and the next generation.

“Youth unemployment is still almost 1 million. The scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance has limited access to further education. Higher fees are putting students off going to university. Student support is being funnelled into partial fee waivers rather than the cash bursaries that students prefer.

“For those who do go to university, the cost of accommodation has doubled in a decade. Unpaid internships are becoming increasingly common for graduates. Postgraduate study is a social mobility time bomb.”

The route of the march was devised specifically to avoid the Conservative headquarters at Millbank, which saw some of the worst violence during the 2010 protest.

Windows at the office block were smashed and anarchist flags were waved from the building’s roof.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts described Wednesday’s route as “too tame”.

student demo 2010

Violence erupted at the 2010 demonstration, with riot officers deployed to tackle students at Millbank

Michael Chessum, organiser of the NCAFC, said the march “fails to meaningfully pass the centres of power which are attacking students and ordinary people”.

Today’s turnout was estimated to be in the low thousands, in stark contrast to the 50,000-strong march two years ago.

The march finished with a rally at Kennington Park, where the speakers includes author and commentator Owen Jones and the NUS president, but the wet weather appears to have dampened the spirits of some.


Sean Talbot
The weather is deadly. Half the demo is now crowded into a tiny coffee house in Kennington Park

Loading Slideshow...
  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    A demonstrator carries a placard before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators shout slogans before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators gather before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators gather before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators gather before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators hold placards as they gather before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators hold placards and banners as they gather before the start of a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Police officers keep guard as demonstrators march during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators march during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators march during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    A demonstrator clashes with a police officer during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators clash with police officers during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-POLITICS-EDUCATION-DEMO

    Demonstrators clash with a police officers during a student rally targeting government education spending cuts in central London on November 21, 2012. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students protest in front of the Houses of Parliament against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Police officers stand guard in front of parliament during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators walk over Westminster bridge during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL,BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators chant slogans during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators chant slogans during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Demonstrators march during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Police officers stand guard during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Protestors scuffle with police officers during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 21: Students march as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Police officers stand guard in front of the Houses of Parliament as students protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Protestors scuffle with police during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Protestors shout at police during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Police officers stand guard in front of the Houses of Parliament as students protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students march through Westminster as they protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Police officers stand guard in front of the Houses of Parliament as students protest against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Protestors march during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thousands Of Students March In Support Of Education And The Welfare State

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Students protest in front of the Houses of Parliament against the rising costs of further education on November 21, 2012 in London, England. The demonstration march was organised by the National Union of Students and is the first national student protest since a series of violent protests against tuition fees two years ago. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-EDUCATION-POLITICS-DEMO

    Police officers keep control during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.

  • Student Protest Against Reforms

    Students demonstrate against government reforms to further and higher education in central London on Wednesday November 21, 2012.