London students challenge gov’t over fees

In a direct challenge to the conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron, thousands of students marched through the streets of London on Nov. 19 to the British Parliament, demanding the end of the austerity imposed on higher education and publicly funded (“free”) education.

The coalition of student groups that called the protest announced that it was just the beginning of a campaign that would last until the general election scheduled for the spring. Students at the University of Birmingham followed up the London march with an occupation of their main administrative hall until they were evicted by the cops on Nov. 26.

A militant breakaway aimed at the Department of Business and the Conservative Party headquarters, among other targets, was harshly attacked by the police, according to a video on the Guardian’s website, but still managed to keep on going until after dark.

The main banner leading the march read “Tax the rich” and a number of signs demanded “Books Not Bombs” and “Money for education, not for war and occupation.”

Organizers are projecting a day of occupations on Dec. 3, and then a day of outreach on Dec. 6. They are projecting larger and more radical actions (possibly a Quebec-style student strike) in the months before the general election.