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#FreeEducation protest

Thousands of students will be converging on Westminster today to protest against tuition fees and cuts.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) organised the event with other groups, and is part of three days of action across the country.

The UCL contingent will be meeting in the Quad at 11am, with the march beginning at Malet Place at 12pm.

Pi’s News team will be covering the demonstrations both here and on twitter. Head to @UCLPi_News for the latest updates, or stay tuned to this live blog that will be updating throughout the day. 

Image credit: NCAFC 

Pi News November 19, 20145:42 pm

Right, that’s us done for the evening. A few protesters still remain either outside Buckingham Palace or back at Westminster. A good day for the campaign. It was mostly peaceful, had a great turnout and the speakers were a great help (when they could be heard).

Remember that there are two more days of action planned: a ‘day of action and walkouts’ on 3rd December, and on 6th December ‘marches for education in local areas’. More information can be found on the NCAFC website: http://anticuts.com/2014/11/19/build-a-movement-not-just-a-march-days-of-action-and-walkouts-in-december/

Pi News November 19, 20144:54 pm

Back in Parliament Square, the drums have come out again.

Pi News November 19, 20144:50 pm

‘Where’s everyone going?’ One person asks. ‘No idea’ is the response.

Pi News November 19, 20144:38 pm

The last of the protesters are outside Buckingham Palace

Pi News November 19, 20144:22 pm

Cutest protester ever.

Pi News November 19, 20144:20 pm

Protesters are walking up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square.

Pi News November 19, 20144:09 pm

Tamara is back at Parliament Square. ‘I think it’s over. People are just milling around and asking what’s going on.’

Pi News November 19, 20144:06 pm

Got another contender.

Pi News November 19, 20144:03 pm

The demonstration at parliament has drawn to a close.

Pi News November 19, 20143:55 pm

Tamara: ‘Police are stopping more people from joining the protest’.

Pi News November 19, 20143:50 pm

Tamara: Protesters are staging a sit in because someone was arrested.

Pi News November 19, 20143:46 pm

Protesters have gathered outside New Scotland Yard

Pi News November 19, 20143:44 pm

Tamara: ‘The aftermath at Starbucks.’

Pi News November 19, 20143:41 pm

Tamara: ‘All that’s left at BIS. The protests have moved on.’

Pi News November 19, 20143:38 pm

Parliament Square has quietened down

Pi News November 19, 20143:35 pm

Pi News November 19, 20143:29 pm

A small group of students have clashed with the police outside a Starbucks.

Pi News November 19, 20143:26 pm

It appears that official events outside parliament are drawing to a close.

Pi News November 19, 20143:25 pm

Protesters are moving away from BIS

Pi News November 19, 20143:24 pm

Bennett: “No racist scapegoating at the byelection tomorrow”

Pi News November 19, 20143:23 pm

Natalie Bennett has given a speech outside parliament: “Education should be free, it should be paid for by progressive taxation … We need to keep actively doing politics, let’s march and let’s make sure we all vote”

Pi News November 19, 20143:21 pm

Meanwhile, outside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Pi News November 19, 20143:16 pm

Lucas: “The reason the government doesn’t want you to have a free education is because they are scared of what you could do with that education”

Pi News November 19, 20143:14 pm

Lucas: “I wish you could all see what I am seeing. It is beautiful.”

Pi News November 19, 20143:13 pm

Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas has just run out of parliament to give a speech.

Pi News November 19, 20143:10 pm

Abbot: “Anything I can do in parliament to support your fight I will. I’m in solidarity”

Pi News November 19, 20143:09 pm

Now Diane Abbot is speaking.

Pi News November 19, 20143:05 pm

A London living wage campaigner says “we should all unionise. Workers and students unite”

Pi News November 19, 20143:04 pm

Tamara reports: ‘Ruben from an unnamed sixth form in South London managed to get over 500 students from sixth forms and colleges in South London. He spoke about the cuts made to colleges, such as the cuts to special needs education and to those whose English is not their first language’

Pi News November 19, 20143:04 pm

Back at Westminster, the speeches are still going on.

Pi News November 19, 20143:01 pm

Larger police presence seen on Tothill Street

Pi News November 19, 20143:00 pm

First arrests reported.

Pi News November 19, 20142:59 pm

A rep from NUS Black Students: “We have to organise, mobilise ourselves so that this movement turns into action not just a four hour demo … We must come out of the demo with something tangible”

Pi News November 19, 20142:52 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:50 pm

Some of the protesters have moved away from Parliament

Pi News November 19, 20142:48 pm

Shelly Asquith, President of the University of the Arts Students Union: “This is not the last time we are taking to the streets. We will back.”

Pi News November 19, 20142:47 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:45 pm

“We need to be fighting for all: citizens income, child benefit… These give students more opportunities rather than having to rely on zero hour contracts. This is just the beginning of the fight.”

Pi News November 19, 20142:44 pm

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party is now speaking to the crowd: “Our universities are running like a business rather than an institute for learning. I’m proud to be stood with you all and to say enough is enough. Education should be free for everyone. This is inter-generational robbery”

Pi News November 19, 20142:41 pm

Shreya Paudel, NUS International Students Officer says “education should be free everywhere, especially in one of the richest countries”.

Pi News November 19, 20142:39 pm

“This is not just a demo. We’re here for the long haul. We’re determined and we will keep going” an organiser says.

Pi News November 19, 20142:39 pm

The protest has moved behind Westminster. Tamara Hopewell: ‘The stage is tiny, though. You can just about hear the speakers.’

Pi News November 19, 20142:36 pm

Protesters in front of Parliament

Pi News November 19, 20142:30 pm

Tamara Hopewell: Some of the march is heading away from Parliament. ‘It’s all gone very quiet just further down from Parliament Square.’

Pi News November 19, 20142:29 pm

Tamara Hopewell: No evidence of large amounts of clashes between police and protesters. ‘From what I’ve seen, most of the protesters have been peaceful’.

Pi News November 19, 20142:25 pm

The guy at the front of the shot made this.

Pi News November 19, 20142:21 pm

Tamara Hopewell is at Parliament Square

Pi News November 19, 20142:19 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:19 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:17 pm

Police presence has completely died down, according to Tamara Hopewell.

Pi News November 19, 20142:16 pm

Smoke from flares is filling the square, now

Pi News November 19, 20142:16 pm

Exclusive: Comment from Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party:
“I’m in the middle of it but there’s such a great turn out that I think the government has to listen. The greens are fully behind the students!”

Pi News November 19, 20142:15 pm

The black bloc have climbed over the barriers in Parliament Square

Pi News November 19, 20142:13 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:11 pm

Here’s what the Kingsway looks like after all the students have gone.

Pi News November 19, 20142:10 pm

The protest is outside Downing Street. If you look closely you can see David Cameron peeking from behind the curtains of No. 10.

Pi News November 19, 20142:06 pm

Tamara Hopewell: ‘On the home straight to parliament square. Morale is still high!’

Pi News November 19, 20142:05 pm

A strong contender with Kodos.

Pi News November 19, 20142:04 pm

The flares have come out for the final stretch to Parliament.

Pi News November 19, 20142:02 pm

HEAR, HEAR

Pi News November 19, 20142:01 pm

Police closed off the Mall.

Pi News November 19, 20142:01 pm

Pi News November 19, 20142:01 pm

The protest has reached Trafalgar Square.

Pi News November 19, 20141:55 pm

Tamara Hopewell: ‘Lots of cheers from pedestrians, builders and motorists. The police presence has calmed down.’

Pi News November 19, 20141:51 pm

The protest has made it to the Strand without incident. The Savoy is aware of this and has sent its best and brightest to defend the gates.

Pi News November 19, 20141:49 pm

VICTORY

Pi News November 19, 20141:48 pm

Hundreds from KCL have joined the protest.

Pi News November 19, 20141:47 pm

A van that was laying cones across the street has been blocked by protestors.

Pi News November 19, 20141:43 pm

We’ve found Natalie Bennett, leader of the Greens!

Pi News November 19, 20141:42 pm

Precious Adesina: ‘Seeing quite a few policeman on motorcycles’. The police presence is getting heavier, she says. ‘More people seem to be making their way down too’.

Pi News November 19, 20141:34 pm

Turnout estimated to be around 8000. Sam Fearnley is at King’s at the moment, where around 200 further people are waiting to join the march.

Pi News November 19, 20141:28 pm

My vote for best placard so far.

Pi News November 19, 20141:24 pm

From Precious Adesina:

Pi News November 19, 20141:23 pm

Tamara Hopewell: ‘Main chant up front is “what do we want? Free education, when do we want it? Now!… There’s some anti-Iraq stuff up as well as Free Palestine’.

Pi News November 19, 20141:22 pm

Still seeing some great placards

Pi News November 19, 20141:16 pm

Sam Fearnley is further down past the protest: ‘Relatively strong police presence down the Kingsway, near LSE and Kings actually’

Pi News November 19, 20141:14 pm

Pi News November 19, 20141:13 pm

Our reporters are telling us that the police presence is still quite low. One helicopter is circling the march.

Pi News November 19, 20141:09 pm

Overheard at the march: “If I see a nice sushi place I might duck out.”

Pi News November 19, 20141:06 pm

Tamara Hopewell: ‘Only two’ flares were let off.

Pi News November 19, 20141:04 pm

Pi News November 19, 20141:02 pm

Here is the contingent from Surrey:

Pi News November 19, 20141:01 pm

Adam Saunders from the University of Surrey says: “We just need a system more like Germany or the Nordic countries – free”

Pi News November 19, 201412:56 pm

Mary Newman: ‘Really middle class things overheard at the education rally: “What are they saying? I don’t want to shout too loudly.”‘

Pi News November 19, 201412:54 pm

Sophie Armour: “I’m from the London young greens and we think education should be accessible for everyone. The current system is broken and doesn’t work”

Pi News November 19, 201412:53 pm

Cheeky.

Pi News November 19, 201412:52 pm

‘The only way is free education’

Pi News November 19, 201412:51 pm

Tamara Hopwell Barreda is in the action:

Pi News November 19, 201412:48 pm

Amy McDermott from Stirling University: ‘I came down from Sterling last night. We stand in solidarity. It’s lucky for us to not pay tuition fees… Our chant is “Scotland has the right idea, cut the fees and have no fear”’

Pi News November 19, 201412:45 pm

Pi News November 19, 201412:43 pm

‘We are here, we are fierce, we are all Toni Pearce’ chant the students. That’s a new one.

Pi News November 19, 201412:41 pm

Pi News November 19, 201412:39 pm

The march has begun. Sam Fearnley: ‘There’s a lot of drumming and I think we are starting to move off now’

Pi News November 19, 201412:37 pm

HERE COME THE DRUMS

Pi News November 19, 201412:35 pm

News reporter Precious Adesina: The police presence at the moment is ‘pretty tame’.

Pi News November 19, 201412:33 pm

Stirling University are here today. Look how excited they are!

Pi News November 19, 201412:25 pm

Pi News November 19, 201412:20 pm

The crowds have definitely gathered now

Pi News November 19, 201412:17 pm

Even if you’re not protesting, hum these chants provided by the NCFAC while making a cup of tea and it’ll be as if you’re in the thick of it.
Education is a right, is a right, is a right
Education is a right
Not a privilege!
(To the tune of “London Bridge is falling down”)

Unemployment and inflation
Are not caused by immigration!
Bullshit – come off it!
The enemy is profit!

More here: http://anticuts.com/2014/11/18/some-ideas-for-chants-on-19-november-demo/

Pi News November 19, 201412:13 pm

BREAKING:

Pi News November 19, 201412:11 pm

Solidarity from across the pond

Pi News November 19, 201412:10 pm

Plymouth University’s Young Greens weighing in on the matter

Pi News November 19, 201412:09 pm

The demonstration has moved from UCL to Malet Street.

Pi News November 19, 201412:07 pm

The chanting has begun

Pi News November 19, 201412:04 pm

Sometimes simple is best.

Pi News November 19, 201412:02 pm

Speaking to the rabble, Raquel Vehlo, a second year PhD student at the Science and Technology Studies department, had this to say:
‘UCL is not a market place, it’s not a company, it’s a university. We will fight as long as there is something to fight for’

Pi News November 19, 201411:59 am

Here are UCLU’s women’s officer, BME officer and Welfare & International officer earlier on

Pi News November 19, 201411:57 am

They’re chanting, now

Pi News November 19, 201411:55 am

Halls Accommodation Rep David Dahlborn is giving a rousing speech about the RENTS campaign, now.

Pi News November 19, 201411:53 am

Now teaching fellows are giving speeches in solidarity with the protestors.

Pi News November 19, 201411:48 am

It’s always a battle with the weather…

Pi News November 19, 201411:44 am

Here’s what UCLU External Affairs and Campaigns Officer Omar Rai had to say on the NUS:
‘To me it seems that the withdrawal of support is indicative of a lack of a willingness to either support free education or to do anything to try and achieve it. The dozens of campuses that have been mobilising to come down to London feel let down but they will still be coming. The NUS could have done a lot more to support the demo and have sadly done very little.’

Pi News November 19, 201411:42 am

There’s always time for a Vine

Pi News November 19, 201411:39 am

Ah, yes. The NUS won’t be here after it pulled out due to health and safety concerns.

Pi News November 19, 201411:33 am

Send us your selfies! (Tweet to @Pi_media)

Pi News November 19, 201411:30 am

Keep your eyes peeled, kids

Pi News November 19, 201411:29 am

All our hearts go out to Anthony

Pi News November 19, 201411:26 am

Doesn’t it just stir the heart?

Pi News November 19, 201411:25 am

A for effort (and Aberdeen)

Pi News November 19, 201411:21 am

News editor Tamara says: ‘Everyone looks quite excited and chatty, but I think we will have to wait for more troops. There are currently about 100 or so people here.’

Pi News November 19, 201411:12 am

A first look at the turnout in the UCL quad:

Oliver Palethorpe November 19, 201411:06 am

Our comment editor, Beth Perkin, has created a petition on change.org. It currently has 1202 signatures.

It can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/uk-government-abolish-tuition-fees

Oliver Palethorpe November 19, 201411:00 am

This is the planned route for today’s march:

#FreeEducation protest Reviewed by on November 19, 2014 .

Thousands of students will be converging on Westminster today to protest against tuition fees and cuts. The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) organised the event with other groups, and is part of three days of action across the country. The UCL contingent will be meeting in the Quad at 11am, with the march beginning

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