Lincoln students participate in 50,000 strong tuition fee protest

Wednesday, November 10th saw thousands of students from across the UK converging on London to protest about the proposed plans to increase tuition fees. The event, Demolition, was organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and Colleges Union (UCU).

The NUS believe that the turnout for the protest was over 50,000, despite reports earlier in the day that the figure was more like 24,000.


Roughly 300 students and staff members from the University of Lincoln made the trip down to London. They left the university’s Brayford Campus at 7am.

The protest follows government plans to raise the cap on tuition fees from £3,290 to £9000. The University of Lincoln has already described a rise in fees as “inevitable” and Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has indicated he supports higher fees.

Unfortunately one of the coaches on the trip down to the capital had a minor incident when it clipped a car, but nobody was hurt.

The rally began in the afternoon with a speech by Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the UCU who said: “Education is a right, not privilege. No government will take this away from us.”

A video of the rally including Sally Hunt’s speech

The rally also saw the Trades Union Congress (TUC) deputy general secretary, Frances O’Grady, speaking who said: “Don’t dare tell us we are all in this together… punish the bankers, not students.”

The rally was then wrapped up by NUS president Aaron Porter.

Aaron Porter wrapping up the rally

The protest was largely peaceful with students chanting and displaying a variety of placards with messages condemning the proposed plans to raise tuition fees to £9000.

A video of some of the peaceful protesters and their placards

However, a minority of the protesters did begin to get aggressive. Outside Millbank Towers, which is the headquarters for the Conservative Party, the BBC reports that placards were set alight to make a bonfire as well as smashing the windows of the building.

A video showing the scenes outside Millbank

Aaron Porter, called the scenes “despicable” and the NUS were quick to condemn “rogue protesters” for undermining a peaceful protest.

Aaron Porter's speech displayed on the big screen at the Demolition rally. Photo: Shane Croucher
The culmination of the 50,000 strong march against rising tuition fees on Wednesday, November 10th was a massive rally with videos and speeches from union officials broadcast on large screens.

Although much of the media focussed on the events at the Millbank tower, many more students rallied round to hear the speeches from the likes of Aaron Porter and Frances O’Grady, which you can hear in full below.

Aaron Porter, president of the NUS
7 minutes

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Frances O’Grady, Trades Union Congress (TUC) deputy general secretary
3 minutes

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Watch our live video coverage from the march and the rally:

A video of some of the peaceful protesters and their placards

A video of the rally including Sally Hunt’s speech

Aaron Porter wrapping up the rally

A video showing the scenes outside Millbank

Follow what happened throughout the day from our reporters who were at the protest – replay the module below to see the blow by blow account with text, photos and video.

8 Responses to Lincoln students participate in 50,000 strong tuition fee protest

  1. Mike Hodges says:

    I think it’s great that students have rediscovered their revolutionary fire. I don’t condone the alleged violence and property damage but they are showing the rest of our society that they are a force to be reckoned with.

  2. Mike Hodges says:

    I’m wondering what the possible impact will be on students who have taken part in the rioting at Millbank. Could they face disciplinary action from the university they are attending? Bringing the university into disrepute.

  3. Visionary Emissary says:

    Its always the same agent provocateurs that are undoubtedly there to undermine the valid voices of concern. Again this only annoys the public and erode sympathy, this is just one of many tactics employed by the individuals with everything to gain from such organised chaos. If only the stupid students would grab these agents all dressed in black garb with veils and make a citizens arrest, instead the sheep emulate these vile few. How convenient the agent provocateurs wait for team b the photo journalists to get into position before they kick the window in. Again another coincidental moment where the CCTV operators fail to locate these agents infiltration and evasion. Morning after the ignorant and bigoted cretins will be reading their daily flail, daily star, and sun all with sensational stories and photos full of gories.

    Guaranteed these agents wont be found as they always run away unmolested by the police for they have completed their objective, to watch the students follow the piper and fall again, with the media foaming at the mouth with sensationalism. How to prevent these events from reoccurring is by the legitimate protesters to identify these concealed agents and point at them saying “show your FACE you’re a DISGRACE” and “AGENT PROVOCATEUR” ! Soon they’ll flee like the veil insidious people they are. Another wasted march and time organising the event, the BBC propaganda repeating the mantra of chaos riots and heavy handed thugs rubbing their hands with glee as the public demand the police go in HARD next time despite the protestors whine.

  4. Chris says:

    Well you could describe it as an utter disgrace but when a million people march through the streets of london against the iraq war and it still happens maybe the only way to make your voice heard is through direct action. The torys care about money, so lets hit them where it hurts. In the pocket!!

  5. Disgruntled Demo Attendee says:

    The Linc are quick to pick fault with the Students’ Union, yet when they pull something like this off and facilitate a great show from Lincoln they get no mention.

    Bloody typical.

  6. Laurel Lee Dearing says:

    Agreed with Chris. Thouroughly. Asking won’t make a difference. The chants and placards make demands and threats of fighting back. So long as they don’t think anyone will follow through with fight they’ll ignore the cries. There have been peaceful demos against the cuts. This one was extremely vibrant and passionate. If you were in the ‘violence’ then believe me there was only a threat from the police and whatever douche thought throwing a fire extinguisher were a bad idea. Property damage is not violence. It’s a threat to show violence may come if they aren’t listened to. Direct action is often about taking the power into the peoples hand and changing the world themselves. If it impossible to take that then the hand in charge is siezed. ‘civil disobedience is a part of democracy.’

  7. protest says:

    Well done everyone who attended. It’s about time we took back the streets and fought for our rights, Cameron and his cronies won’t listen, so we gotta hit them where it hurts.

  8. We know who you are, why aren’t you using your real name?

    I thought you were meant to be all about accountability.