ÂŠ Kevin Allen kevinallen.photography All rights reserved
Free Education Demo London 2014 Kevin Allen
These photographs are part of a series of photographs made of events as they happened during the course of the final hour in a day of protest that took place in London on Wednesday 19 November, 2014.
Many demonstrators carried placards demanding to know why it was that tuition is free in some countries in Europe but not in England while others were demanding an end to arms spending.
The demonstration, organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity - a branch of the People's Assembly Against Austerity - was calling for the end of student tuition fees, the return of maintenance grants and an end to student debt.
Partly inspired by Russell Brand's book “Revolution” many demonstrators carried banners suggesting a revolution was the only solution to austerity. Others others carried placards urging workers to join them against the Tory austerity cuts.
Over 10,000 protestors answered the call to take part in the demonstration, which attracted students from all over the country and included university and further education as well as sixth form college students. Many had travelled overnight from as far away as Cornwall and Scotland to join the protest.
The protest passed off peacefully but there were scuffles with the police when the march arrived at Parliament Square for the main rally. A determined group of protestors donned masks and occupied the Square in front of the Houses of Parliament and a number of smoke flares were let off.
However, the National Union of Students refused to back the demonstration saying that it posed an “unacceptable level of risk” to its members. This was because of the violence and clashes with police and the occupation of Millbank during the 2010 demonstrations. But students are angry about being encouraged to go to university and then being saddled with over £40,000 of debt after three years studying for a degree.
Further confrontations took place after 3pm when a group of demonstrators broke away from the main demonstration and proceeded down Victoria Street waving banners and shouting slogans. Paint bombs were thrown at the windows of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Scotland Yard police headquarters, and also at a branch of the Starbucks coffee shop chain. At least 12 demonstrators were arrested along the route and three officers suffered minor injuries after protestors clashed with members of the Metropolitan Police Territorial Support Group.