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Students demand: ‘Tax the rich, free education for all’

Tories on the backfoot say National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

24 November, 2017 — By Helen Chapman

Government warned of repeat of ‘mass mobilisation’ before general election

THOUSANDS of students marched through central London with “Free Education Now – Tax the Rich” placards in protest against tuition fees.

Police officers in vans and mounted on horses patrolled roads to keep crowds under control.

Pink smoke billowed from flares and there were chants of “education for the masses, not just for the ruling classes” and “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts”. Last Wednesday’s demonstration started in Bloomsbury and moved down to Parliament Square, where there were speeches.

Justine, a third-year history student at UCL, who helped organise the protest as part of National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said: “The demo has been called today because we saw the mass mobilisation of young people during the general election.

“They were totally enthralled by Labour’s calls to end tuition fees. The Tory government is on a back-foot now and it is a critical point for education – we could get a progressive Labour government soon or we could get a huge hike in fees and big businesses coming into the higher education system.

“We want to not only push the Tory government out of power, but also push for our version of free education and our version of liberated and accessible education, and that’s why we are here today.”

Alexandra, a third-year geography student at UCL, added: “It’s important to make education accessible for all whereas, right now, its seen as a luxury.” Marcel, a third-year business student at London Metropolitan University, said: “I am here today because fees are too high. We are currently in limbo and don’t know what is going to happen next. They could keep rising. So the more support this movement gets, the better.”

Saffron, a second-year politics and sociology student at the University of Liverpool, said: “It’s about a lot more than free education. It is about showing universities what’s going on isn’t acceptable. We pay £9,000 a year but that doesn’t cover a lot of things – we pay this much and don’t get everything we need.

“A lot of people’s maintenance loans don’t cover their rent. So this protest isn’t just about demanding a Utopia, it is about so much more.”

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