Friday, 10 December 2010

Anti-fees protests: another view

A grandfather's message in Newcastle
This account for the BBC News website by a North East mother, 44-year-old Nikki Crowley, combined with the excellent picture (left) illustrates the breadth of support for yesterday's protests here.

'I protested in Newcastle in support of the students - my son is at university and I have two daughters who will start next year.

About 3,000 students and workers marched for several hours around the city to a standing ovation from workers at the civic centre. Shoppers were clapping and applauding the students as we went past.

Police were trying to corner demonstrators, unsuccessfully, and we rallied at the monument. The city centre roads were blocked.

I was marching as a public sector worker under threat of redundancy. The two issues go hand-in-hand. The students do not stand alone.

This affects everyone in society. I saw an 80-year-old grandfather with a sign saying that his grandchildren deserved an education (see picture).

I don't think students should be penalised for wanting to study. I pay my taxes for that. I want working class people to have the chance of an education.

I just don't think it's fair to leave with debts of £24,000 hanging over your head.

This increase in fees will divide the country. Only those who can afford it will go to university. It's corrupt and it's unjust.

If my daughters have to pay £6,000 a year, it will be very difficult for them to go.

I am encouraged by the result of the vote - and the rebellion of the Lib Dem MPs. It shows this coalition has no mandate. They are crumbling apart at the edges. They have a massive struggle on their hands now.'

There's also this report from the same site:

'Children as young as 11 marched alongside octogenarians in Newcastle, where up 3,000 students, pupils, parents and workers took part in protests.

The crowds were given a standing ovation as they marched past civic offices in the city centre.

Protesters described a good-natured "carnival atmosphere" with students playing music and banging drums as they marched.

The protesters marched down the city's main shopping street to show solidarity with students involved in the two-week-old occupation of Newcastle University.

And many pupils left schools between lessons to take part in the protests.'


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