By Richard Garner
15 November 2010
Student protesters plan to switch the focus of their campaign against
fee rises to local sit-ins and occupations of university buildings.
They are calling for a wave of occupations around the country on 24
November a move which has split the student movement,
It could usher in scenes reminiscent of the 1960s, when student
activists most notably at the London School of Economics occupied
university administration buildings.
"We would like to encourage students of all ages and backgrounds to
take peaceful and creative forms of political protest and direct
action," said the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, a
coalition of student groups. "University occupations, demonstrations,
banner droppings and walkouts are all welcomed as ways to show
Both students' and lecturers' leaders believe it will be difficult to
mount another national demonstration along the lines of last
Wednesday's which ended with 57 people arrested after the
Conservative Party headquarters at Millbank was occupied and its
reception area trashed.
However, leaders of the National Union of Students are looking at a
national lobby of Parliament to coincide with the day that MPs vote
on government proposals to raise the cap on fees to £9,000 a year.
Aaron Porter, the president of the NUS, has distanced the leadership
from planned walkouts and occupations. In an email to members, he
said: "I am of the belief that the actions of the NCAFC could now be
a risk to our wider objectives at this stage in the campaign
following the fringe activities that happened on Wednesday."