Smashing the Government’s tuition fees plan

The NUS student demonstration has become simultaneously one of the most memorable and notorious in a generation. I can remember the millions who marched against the war in Iraq, and when arriving on library road in the morning, the feeling was it was going to be a “big” demo. I had optimistic expectations of 20,000 students marching, a really good start to a campaign by students against the Con-Dems. I was overjoyed to learn that more than double the number were marching, which for a regular protestor like me, happens only on those rare special occasions.
The 300 of us from Warwick hit traffic, and students on the coach I was on ended up filtering in to demonstration, where any hope for a cohesive Warwick block were lost for our section. We meandered down past parliament; the mood was quite jovial, with chants like “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”

Before reaching the end of the march, I noted that we had gone past Tory HQ. A light-bulb lit up in my head. I didn’t hang around for speeches by those such as Aaron Porter, who has as much charisma as a chartered accountant choking on a brussel sprout. I saw someone from the Socialist Worker’s party beckon me to Millbank. “Comrade…” she said. Enough said, I knew from the enigmatic smile that there was where I was destined to be.

Outside Millbank, students had originally sat down in protest, peacefully too. The Police attacked them, and very swiftly, students reacted angrily. The first were able to simply walk into the building. It took a while for Police to respond. At several moments people broke through into different parts of the building. Most of them were students, many on their first demo. Leeds anarchist students got to the roof, followed by other groups of students, waving red and black flags. It was like a revolution in microcosm.

Another group of anarchists had fashioned a massive carrot, which they were using as a battering ram against the windows. By this point, thousands were in the square, too many for the riot cops to handle, who were forced back. Many broke into the lobby, lit bonfires outside and then outflanked the police to the left of the building. Hundreds broke in. I feel a tinge of regret that I got so near to the front and getting in, yet so far. I had to settle for lobbing a manky banana [amongst other things], but you never know, it might cause a government slip up. On reflection, the Millbank action certainly didn’t encourage healthy eating, with many of student’s five a day [or five a month] being thrown at the building. There was palpable rage by people being radicalised for the first time. The realisation: We hadn’t gone there simply to “send a message” about government plans, on the contrary, we wished to be the first in a long battle to SMASH those plans.

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