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More Student Protests

by Alex Miller
25 November 2010, 11:03am

Yesterday, while students across the country staged walkouts in protest to cuts in education funding, a few thousand in London attempted to march to Parliament. Unfortunately, since they destroyed the Tory headquarters two weeks ago, the police weren't about to let them reach Parliament, so instead they kettled thousands of stoned, angry hippies and excited sixth formers into a small space and let them destroy that instead.

The whole thing kicked off at ULU in Bloomsbury at about 10.30am. A small bunch of sixth formers met up with some students on the steps of the Union, before heading down to Whitehall. This woman lead the march; her name is Clare Solomon and she's the President of the University of London Union. Nine hours later, while hungry, tired, full of piss and angry, we'll stand next to each other freezing to death while the police let out a billion people one by one.

Everything was pretty calm as we headed down Kingsway Place and I wondered if the sixteen-year-olds body-popping their way along the march would soon get bored with politics and sod off to Games Workshop, but as we reached The Strand, they broke into a sprint. None of the coppers dolled-up in their riot gear could keep up with this.

Unfortunately they had some mates around the corner who stopped the march, unwittingly diverting it down towards the river. Clare Solomon and her mates tried to redirect it back on course, but old crusties don't hold much sway with crowds of Tinie Tempah fans.

Eventually they met with another group at Trafalgar Square. Revolution was in the air. In 84 it was the miners and in 2011 it'll be the Harry Potter fans in UGG Boots.

Don't count on it, David Cock-eron and Nick Cle-mydia [copyright: protest sign writers]!

Eventually the crowd marched down Parliament Street and, faced with a row of coppers, stopped there. Outside The Treasury people mounted a bus stop. It wasn't going to get much better for that bus stop.

Rather inexplicably, a police van has been left in the middle of the street. Conspiracy theories abounded that it was a honey trap for demolition-hungry protestors, which, once destroyed, would give the police an excuse to keep everyone captive for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours.

It worked.

What does a pretty woman carry to a protest in a metal briefcase?

Once people reallised that we'd been locked into a tiny section of street, they started trying to bust their way out. These guys weren't into it.

But these guys thought it was a great idea.

What we had here was a difference of opinion. In cases such as these, the best thing to do is for policemen to hit teenagers with their truncheons while different, less-edgy teenagers throw crap at them from 50 metres back.

As the day went on a certain difference in gender behaviour became clear. Boys were in the middle burning stuff, fighting and occasionally rapping, and girls were sat on window panes in nice coats.

On the other side of that window is The Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Inside the staff were raising wry eyebrows at proceedings, while, presumably, native slaves mixed endless rounds of gin and tonic.

Time went on, people wrote stuff...

And threw stuff...

But most importantly, everyone was getting along like a house on fire.

After a while, the protestors had a great idea and charged the cops with a big metal fence.

Then the cops had a great idea and rushed the protesters, cracking some skulls. No-one knew it yet, but at this point there were still seven more hours of this party to go. Whoop!

Political regimes come and go, but you can always trust students to take a cock-eyed view of civil disobedience by putting a traffic cone on their head. LOL!

Bored and cold, with a soundsystem blaring out Giggs in the background, people rediscovered the joys of the police van.

This is the riot equivalent of leaving with the FA Cup Final ball.

You can't tell from here, but most people drew massive cocks on the van. What is it about cocks? I guess arseholes are harder to draw.

Weapons aside, the best things inside the van were some Haribo, a couple of sandwiches and a copy of what looked like X Factor Magazine.

This sums up everything William Hague thinks about anyone born after 1976 in one neat package of radness.

Burn the old!

And people made from thick sheets of plastic.

As it turned dark and the temperature dropped three billion degrees, this pretty much summed up how everyone was starting to feel about everyone else. I know I wanted to use this twink to beat my way through the police cordon.

Hate you right now.

At one point at about 7.00pm, everyone gathered near one side of the cordon and it seemed as though we might be let go. We weren't, but we were about to be subjected to this man's prattlings. Initially he got booed, but after a while, once he started playing the "fuck the pigs" card, people were shouting "Vote for this guy!" (Don't, BTW).

The police's strategy of waiting till everyone calmed down didn't really work. Anger, crowds and the element of fire ignited a standard cinematic post-apocalyptic hell-type vibe. We were eventually let go at about 10.30pm, but not before we were cornered in a massive queue and some fucking crusty started playing Pendulum. Both the police and the kids seemed to perk up at hearing those huge Aussie rhythms. That's one thing they have in common, so, sadly it seems that the sound of peace is emo drum and bass. What a shitty future.

You can see more photos from protests around the country on the Vice Photo Blog, here.