#FreeEducation Demo 2014 Sees Protesters Arrested As They Storm Parliament Square

#FreeEducation Demo Sees Protesters Arrested As They Storm Parliament Square

Protesters have been arrested and flares set off as hundreds stormed Parliament Square during a demonstration against tuition fees - despite metal railings which were erected to keep them out.

Organised by several student groups, including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, the march started off at Malet Street and wound its way down to Westminster, with more than 7,000 taking part.

Pictures emerged of police arresting demonstrators, although it is not yet clear how many or whether they have been charged.

Earlier on Wednesday, it emerged the headquarters of the National Union of Students, which controversially refused to support the protest, had been heavily graffitied.

The BIS government building also came under fire, with protesters throwing paint bombs at the windows.

Paint has been chucked at BIS #FreeEducationpic.twitter.com/rAQELURg1R

— John Morgan (@JMorganTHE) November 19, 2014

Following the Parliament Square takeover, it appears police presence in the area has been stepped up - but it doesn't look to have deterred the protesters, who continue to chant on the grassy area outside the Houses of Parliament.

Mobile #FreeEducation march being tailed by these guys pic.twitter.com/tEA4QSsLp5

— Howard (@howardsaid) November 19, 2014

Organiser Aaron Kiely, from the Student Assembly Against Austerity and a member of the NUS national executive, said their message was very simple: a return to free education and an alternative to tuition fees.

He said: "We want to end the lifetime of debt which is a massive burden for students.

"Students are really angry because we go to university and then at the end of it we get an average of £40,000-worth of debt. That puts you in a hell of a difficult position when you start to think about a mortgage and a family. We need an alternative."

Fiona Edwards, an organiser with the Student Assembly Against Austerity, spoke to Huff Post UK Students ahead of the march: “We called a demonstration in the summer, jointly with the Student Assembly Against Austerity, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and the Young Greens, and we’ve been building it since then.

“Obviously, we’ve been really stepping things up in the last month or so with weeks of action across the country."


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