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.
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”.
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.