Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Round-up: Students getting hotter

In London I managed to follow the smoke signals towards the protests outside Downing Street and find several thousand students and police blockading the way. Lots of police horses and demonstrators who ranged from school age to uni age and then there was a big jump with a handful of old politicos, like me, seeing what we could learn.

The police had kettled quite a few protesters when I'd arrived. I don't know what they were burning in there but it smelt pretty acrid - glad I wasn't cooped up with that bonfire. They're saying on Whitehall they could be kettled until midnight - and it's freezing! I don't envy those poor kids.

Much of the anger seems to be around the EMA, or Education Maintenance Allowance, rather than the fees hike, which is presumably why we saw so many school kids in uniform (eg here) sometimes accompanied by teachers. I don't know who was escorting who.

BBC has some calming footage from round the country, and the Guardian was following the event ('live blogging, wooo). Anti-Cuts has followed many of the protests today, and you can see my favourite placard of the day here, from Edinburgh where they don't even have fees.

Written reports: Birmingham (pics), Brighton (plus), Bristol, Cambridge (also, statement), Cardiff (tweets, blog), Durham, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Leeds (pic) (also), Liverpool, Newcastle (blog), Nottingham, Manchester (blog), Oxford (plus, pics, blog), Plymouth, Roehampton, Royal Holloway (blog), Sheffield, SOAS, Southampton, Southbank (also), Stroud, Tottenham rally, UCL, ULU, Warwick uni (pic).

Video reports: Cambridge, Hastings, Manchester, SOAS, Southbank, Sheffield, Westminster Kingsway, The University of Strategic Optimism (Llyods TSB London), Whitehall as they move the kettle, London being young and jolly.

I was also enjoying twitter where I found out that there were chants "Your Jobs Are Next!" at police. However, what's interesting is that twitter seem to have been censoring the protest tag to stop it 'trending' (ie being seen by everyone in the country) and here are the stats to prove it.

Advise: The Activist Legal Project has a good set of direct action guides which are also fun to read.

Late entries one: Really Open University, Next day of action Nov. 30th, Met Police information, Indymedia thread, French solidarity demo, Socialist Workers' reports, Bright Green picture round-up

I'll add more when people tell me about them / I spot them. Email me or leave a comment if you want your stuff included and I've missed it here.

Late entries two:
Mark Steel on Gove's guide to social class. NUS official response, sorry about this but the Daily Mail has some nice pics, particularly if you lke smashed up police vans.

Late entries three: Adam Ramsay on whether the protests worked, Doc Richard on preparing to be kettled, Molly was protesting in Cardiff, Simon in Newcastle, as was Mark, Journeyman's daughter led a student walkout, Alisdair has more photos from Edinburgh, PR reports from John Roan school - where-ever that is.

Late entries four: Edinburgh uni against the cuts, useful discussion of whether the police van was a 'plant', video of anarchist whacking protester at said van, Jonathon Warren has some top notch photos.

Late entries five: Indymedia - prepare to be clubbed on the head, one police view, do read the comments, Coalition of Resistance pics. The South Yorkshire Star, Clegg forced off his bike, Brighton university still occupied, BBC runs 'your pictures', The Great Wen looks at how the kids have always been vilified.

The Telegraph photography blog describes how difficult it is to take a good pic of people smashing up a van when so many of your colleagues surround the vehicle, and they post their results. Herald Scotland sums up protests north of the border, The Liverpool Daily Post says protesters went too far because someone threw an egg.

Last lot?: Infinite thought, New Internationalist, more on Oxford, new from the Guardian, BBC on continuing occupations, police chief predicts disorder, Cambridge student punched by cop, Ben Duncan reports from Brighton. Communist Students in Manchester.


Mono_S. said...

Someone decided it was a good idea to start burning ALL of the giant plastic road blocks.. hence the plumes of black toxic smoke. Nice.

There were a lot of smaller 'campfires' though and we managed to keep a good deal of people warm with them. I did feel sorry for some of the younger kids, they were clearly upset about the whole situation: Not really the perfect outcome for a first protest.

DocRichard said...

Hi Jim

I have some practical suggestions for preparedness for kettling here

It is possible that the non-appearance of the #demo2010 is due to the fact that @demo2010 is a non-public account.

This is a great day for democracy. Hopefully.



Jim Jepps said...

Thanks Mono - they sound really hard to set on fire - hope you didn't get too smoke damaged!

It's interesting that the police tactic of kettling probably puts off some people from attending another demo, but makes everyone really hate the police. I'd argue that's not in their long term interest!

Richard: thanks for that - I'll add it in my next update.

Jim Jepps said...

Richard: also just seen reply to your point about demo2010 tag, who says its not so (link above)

Cathryn said...

Pic of the girls around the van might just be my political photo of the year - look out for them running the country in 20 or 30 years (And that photo turning up when they stand).

But the stats you give don't prove that anyone was censoring let alone that twitter was doing it, just that #demo2010 wasn't trending as it should have been. I'd hate to think that twitter would do that, and there were a couple of tweets of them denying it. More investigation needed, I think.

Cathryn said...

Sorry - I see you've already picked up on the hashtag thing.

Jim Jepps said...

Actually Cathryn I think your right that I have phrased it badly in the original post and that it simply shows that from the stats you'd expect it to be trending even though it didn't - but we don't know why.

The post I link to has a number of explanations that it explores some of which it rejects and some it feels *might* be true.

modernity said...

The police tactics are to be expected, and worse is to come, imo.

The tories and the police will justify any harsh, over the top, action with reference to the Millbank Tower events, along the lines of "Oh, look what happened when we were soft" etc etc

This is only the beginning.