Tamara Hopewell Barreda reports on the NUS’ withdrawal of demonstration support
The largest student demonstration against austerity and tuition fees is due to take place on the 19th November, marching through London and ending at Parliament Square. It has been organised by a coalition of student groups and headed up by National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the Young Greens.
Although the National Union of Students (NUS) had previously voted to fully support the demonstration it has now decided to withdraw its support of the demonstration. Toni Pearce, the president of the NUS, has released a statement saying that the demo would pose “an unacceptable level of risk” to its members, as well as not being accessible to all students, in particular disabled students.
Fiona Edwards, an organiser of the Student Assembly Against Austerity, has said that the statement is inaccurate; “We’ve negotiated a safe and accessible route with the police, and we’re working closely with councils and Transport for London to make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible.” Meaning that the statement released by Pearce seems to many to a political objection rather than one based on legitimate safety concerns.
Pearce concludes the statement by saying, “I now hope that student officers across the country understand this decision and make their own decisions about whether to attend the demonstration.”
Nonetheless, thousands of students from across Britain are still expected to mobilise and attend the demonstration. This will make it the biggest of its kind since 2010. It will also be marking the beginning of a series of events that aim to highlight the demands of the student movement and put pressure on politicians to support them. These events will be taking place from now until the 2015 general election.
Featured image credit: BillyH