Home | Friday 4th March 2011 | Issue 761
THAT'LL LEARN 'EM
Overshadowed by turmoil in Libya, last week saw more student protests in London, leading up to the self-styled ‘DayX4’ protests on Thursday 24th .
At around 2pm, a gaggle of students and lecturers assembled outside Woburn House in Tavistock Square with the intention of disrupting a national meeting of UUK (Universities UK), where vice-chancellors hob-nob and plot how to lobby for higher fees and deliver a corporate-backed, consumer-driven university sector.
The crowd soon doubled in size as reinforcements from London School of Economics (LSE) arrived with a bicycle soundsystem and took over the road. The dozen or so cops in attendance were heavily outnumbered but minor scuffles with them led to the abandonment of attempts to enter the building. Cops then started erecting metal barriers to close off the entrance but students, seeing the potential kettle coming, took action to delay efforts.
Getting mobile the crowd then swept down Euston Road and up Oxford Street, with regular UK Uncut targets coming in for some abuse along the way. Vodafone, Barclays, Boots and Top Shop were all inconvenienced for a while.
Student solidarity was also in evidence when police attempted to feel someone’s collar. Those nearby piled in and performed a classic de-arrest, One copper lost his helmet, while several others lost their tempers. Surprisingly still no reinforcements arrived, leaving the same handful of officers to plod after the crowd as they continued the walkabout.
After a strange stand-off at the Union of London University (ULU) building where protesters were confronted at the door by security and Claire Solomon, the socialist president of ULU elected last March on a ‘mandate for resistance’ – it was off to the Libyan embassy in Grosvenor Square for a quick solidarity demo. The roving protest then ended trying to attend a meeting at University College London (UCL) where BP reps were speaking.
Presumably knackered from all that walking, those remaining decided to stay put and started an occupation at the Old Refectory. That remained until Monday when they withdrew and joined another larger occupation at Royal Holloway (Uni of London)’s building in Bedford Square. That ‘Anti-Cuts Space’ was thriving untiil this Thursday (3rd) when - for the first time in 20 years - baliffs used violent force to evict a student occupation. The anti-swot-SWAT team entered through the roof before forcibly booting everybody out.
Perhaps university authorities are becoming more fearful of all this burgeoning student radicalism. Last week, a student occupation forced the management of LSE (see SchNEWS 760) to cave to some of the demands. Whilst only a partial victory, the uni has promised to ring-fence the dirty $1.5 million Ghaddafi donation to provide grants and bursaries for Libyan students.
* For fuller X4 accounts and pics, see www.london.indymedia.org/articles/7577)