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9th Nov Student Protests: As They Happened

Wednesday 9th November 2011

See how the 9th November student protest march occurred, as 4,000 youngsters demonstrate against tuition fees.

student protests

Thank you for joining us in our live blog throughout the student protests.

In summary: The protest moved peacefully from UCL to Moorgate, with only 26 arrests. Protesters briefly splintered to set up a camp at Trafalgar Square, but it was soon moved on. A few scuffles took place around Fleet Street, but these were relatively minor. All protesters left London Wall before the police deadline at 5.40pm.

17.40 From Billy Kenber at The Times:


Rally has finished on time. No protesters seem to be left and police have reopened London Wall to pedestrians.


17.38 Police say there have been 24 arrests at the protest. In a march of around 4,000, that's pretty impressive.

17.34 Looks like the police have started to contain the remaining protesters at London Wall and are arresting all those in the kettle.

17.28 Journalists are reporting that police are shouting at the 100 remaining protesters: "Disperse now or you will be arrested under Section 12 of the Public Order Act". Catchy.

17.25 Declan Harvey is reporting that there are virtually no more protesters left at London Wall. He's being swarmed by city workers on their way home instead.

17.20 The taxi protest has caused chaos around Trafalgar Square, with Whitehall being closed off.
See the photos from the Trafalgar Square taxi protest

17.18 Only around 100 protesters left at London Wall. Police had given protesters until 5.40 to disperse before they took action.

17.13 Terrific video of the protest reaching London Wall, past the Museum of London.

17.10 LBC's Declan Harvey says protesters are dispersing north from London Wall towards Moorgate. Rumours are swirling that they are heading back to Trafalgar Square where they will continue the protest.

17.08 Elsewhere, UK Uncut claim to have disrupted the Tax Journal Conference. If I was a delegate there, I'd be relieved.

17.03 From LBC's Dan Freedman at London Wall.


Protest becomes mini rave in the city, protesters gradually filing away


London Wall Protest rave

16.56 Back at Occupy London, Chumbawumba have just finished their set and Billy Bragg is next on. Lucky them.

16.50 Those 20 arrests:
3 x violent disorder and affray
1 x Offensive Weapon
3 x Going Equipped
1 x Section 60aa
12 x Breach of the Peace

16.38 The policing has certainly been very visible and, by the lack of trouble so far, seems to have worked. But some people are not happy. This is what 17-year-old Luci Cunningham has to say:


It's definitely too much. There were police at every corner - we're not animals. I think they went a bit over the top, to be honest. We came here because we are going to struggle to pay university fees. My mum is a single mother and my sister is already at university and we are working class. We shouldn't have to compromise on education. It's not fair.


16.36 London Wall appears to have turned into a rave. Sound systems playing dubstep, jungle and other tunes for protesters to dance to.

16.30 One of the famous faces on the student march, model Lily Cole.

lily cole

16.25 LBC's Declan Harvey says that although the march has been generally peaceful, the atmosphere is very tense in London Wall. He just witnessed three police officers wrestling a protester to the ground and arrest him.

16.23 Police insisting no kettling is taking place, despite claims by protesters. This from the Met Police twitter account.


Those looking to leave the #studentprotest are encouraged to head north of London Wall towards Aldgate.


16.18 Police say 20 people have been arrested on the march. Around 4,000 people have reached London Wall.

16.15 Here's the work of artist Chu at the protest:

sodtherich top

16.12 The November 9th protest has forced the Prime Minister to quit. Unfortunately for the demonstrators, it's Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

16.08 From LBC's Dan Freedman at London Wall:


Arrests at London Wall, protesters have until about 6 to leave or they'll be breaking the law.


16.05 Police officers in London Wall have been putting their riot gear on. Not surprising judging by this photo.

police paint top

16.03 This from the London Student Journalism Support Network from London Wall.


At London Wall, in the crowd a small fight led to police entering and snatching away those fighting -as yet unconfirmed if it was an undercover officer being "unmasked".


16.00 The taxi driver protest is starting in Trafalgar Square. They are attempting to block all routes to and from the area. If you're on the road, avoid!
Latest Traffic and Travel News

15.59 Protesters seem to think they are being kettled, but police attempting to announce that they can exit at Moorgate.

15.58 Reports that protesters are being kettled at Moorgate, but at present policing doesn't seem to have changed from the beginning of the march.

15.55 More video of the scuffles at Fetter Lane, this time from The Guardian.

15.46 Now that the march is stationary, many of the road closures have now been lifted, including Trafalgar Square, The Strand and Fleet Street. Remember that the Taxi Drive-In Demonstration is due to start at 4pm, which will snarl up Trafalgar Square again.
Latest Traffic and Travel News

15.40 All the protesters are now at their destination - let the London Wall rally begin.

15.37 Police are in full riot gear outside the London Stock Exchange. They are being very careful to ensure this march does not meet the Occupy London protest.


15.33 While it has been mostly peaceful, there have been scuffles around the protest, as seen in the video below.

15.30 Sky News are reporting that police believe protesters have glass hammers. Still peaceful though.

15.29 Lest we forget the reason behind the march in the first place. This from comedian Josie Long.


I am here because I believe education should not be marketised. Education is a right and it's more important than profit.


15.25 The front of the march has now reached London Wall, according to LBC's Dan Freedman. It will stay here for an hour-long rally.

15.23 From LBC's Declan Harvey:


Tony Ben addressing @OccupyLSX at #stpauls as #nov9 march draws closer to Stock Exchange.


15.17 Everything seems to have calmed down at the front of the march as they reach Paternoster Square. This from The Guardian's Shiv Malik.


It's calmed down some at the front but we are now passing the side of paternoster square. On the otherside is Occupy.


15.16 As the march heads up Holborn Viaduct, they are getting close to St Paul's Cathedral and the Occupy London village.

15.14 Police are clearing away the last of the tents in Trafalgar Square. Here's a video from The Guardian's Shehani Fernando.

15.09 It's being reported that anarchists have broken police lines, as police try to restore calm in the protest.

15.07 LBC reporter Dan Freedman reporting that a loud bang went off in the march, startling the police horses. Most likely a firework or firecracker. Atmosphere has changed since the happy chanting earlier.

15.06 Met Police reporting that "a number of arrests have been made".

15.05 The march is back together and back underway. They are on Holborn Viaduct.

14.59 This is the kettle of the electricians, from Alastair Cox.

electrician kettle

14.56 According to Michael Chessum, one of the march's organisers, the students are refusing to march any further until the electricians are released from their kettle in the City.

14.55 Police are moving in on the mini Occupy camp in Trafalgar Square. I'd hate to be the person that has to pack away those pop-up tents. They're very confusing.

14.49 Reports suggest things are heating up in the march. This is from Jessica Fuhl, a writer with The National Student.


Police horses moving forward to line, more scuffles. Bottle of wee just thrown past me. All hoods/masks at front of march.


14.46 The front of the protest on Fetter Lane has been held up, while the rest catches up from Fleet Street.

14.41 From LBC's Dan Freedman on the march:


March has stopped on Fleet Street, where route to city is blocked. "Don't turn left" chant.


14.39 With roads closed across London, the traffic is building up all over the centre of town. Get the very latest traffic and travel news.

14.37 Here's the police presence stopping protesters getting on to Fleet Street.

fleet street police

14.33 There's a split in the march and everything's ground to a halt. The front of the group is on Fetter Laneas planned, but a group attempted to reach Fleet Street and have been blocked off.

14.31 It's believed the police will start clearing the Trafalgar Square tents at 3pm if they have not been removed.

14.29 The march is reaching the protest by electricians in the City, where around 1,000 protesters are being kettled by police.

14.28 Student protest leader Aaron Peters has described the march as "a rolling kettle" as police control the pace and movement of the protest.

14.25 Here is the "camp" in Trafalgar Square - not sure how long it will last.
trafalgar sq tents top

14.21 The Met Police have tweeted on the small group setting up tents in Trafalgar Square.


A small group have broken off the main route, this contravenes Sec 12 of the Public Order Act


14.20 The march is moving past the Royal Courts of Justice. Will any of the protesters be coming back here soon?

14.18 All approaches to Trafalgar Square are now closed.

14.16 That's a LOT of people...


14.14 Good point from LBC presenter Anthony Davis:


Will these students have vacated Trafalgar Sq when the cabbies show up to protest at 4pm. Could get messy...


14.08 More wonderful photos like that from our photo timeline of the student protest.

14.07 Here's Nick Clegg the Butcher...

14.04 Charterhouse Street and Fleet Street are already closed in preparation for the march.

14.01 Only around 15 people left at Trafalgar Square, says LBC reporter Declan Harvey. Most have gone back to the main body of the protest, which has reached Somerset House in Aldwych.

13.57 Reports of the police horses at the front of the march feeling "unnerved" by the protest behind them. Cyclist towing a speaker asked to turn the bass down so as not to scare them.

13.51 More from LBC's Dan Freedman on the march.


Heading down the strand now. Line of police horses at the head of the march getting unnerved. Police flanking entire protest


13.49 There's around 10 green tents being pitched in Trafalgar Square by protesters with V For Vendetta masks on.

13.45 Police have blocked Whitehall with police horses to prevent protesters making it to Downing Street. A few dozen protesters still trying to "occupy" Trafalgar Square.

13.43 Some protesters have started pitching tents in Trafalgar Square.

13.41 BREAKING NEWS We're hearing 200 of the protesters have left the march route at Trafalgar Square and are heading towards Downing Street.

13.34 Here is what the march going down Charing Cross Road looked like.
Charing Cross Road March

13.24 Protest has just been past LBC Towers - and it's very impressive. Images up very soon.
13.20 Protestors are now on Charing Cross Road approaching Trafalgar Square.

13.19 The front of the march - with a very thick police line.

13.14 Police say protesters also won't be allowed to loiter in Moorgate for longer than two hours after the rally.

13.10 We've receied the latest from the Met Police - and they're saying they will arrest any marchers who stop and congregate and any place other than the pre-agreed locations.


We have imposed additional conditions on today's protest in order to avoid serious disruption to the life of Londoners and to avoid any potential damage to property or public disorder.

These conditions are that the protestors should gather for no more than two hours when the main body of the march arrives at London Wall, and that they should restrict their rally to the agreed location of London Wall.

Protestors must also remain on the agreed route and must not enter Bank junction, Princess Street, Threadneedle Street, Lombard Street, Cornhill, Poultry and Mansion House.

We will notify protestors on the route of these additional conditions by way of Twitter updates and text and officers will also use loudspeaker and hand out leaflets and on the route.

Anyone who knowingly fails to comply with these conditions, or who incites others to fail to comply is committing an offence and may be liable to arrest.


13.06 One of the best placards we've seen to far: "Does Theresa know we're here?"

13.05 There's a bit of a difference between the claimed number of protesters. The organisers say 15,000 are marching. The Met Police tell us it's closer to 6,000.

13.00 At the end of the march, there will be a rally at 15.40 at London Wall, with police predicting that the crowds will disperse at around 17.30. That sounds optimistic in the extreme.

12.58 Protest has now reached Bedford Square. It's slow going with police keen to keep the pace down.

12.57 One of the hidden dangers of being in a march led by a line of police horses - a number of protesters are complaining on Twitter about having stepped in horse poo!

12.54 From LBC reporter Declan Harvey - @LBC_Declan


I'm ahead of #nov9 march. Huge police presence. Banks have officers guarding them on Charing Cross Road.


12.52 Occupy LSX have tweeted:


Massed police on Fleet Street. And they accuse *us* of obstructing the highway :/


police fleet st

12.48 Russia Today report that police have taken away a protester who refused to remove his mask. Although they go on to say police are ignoring a large number of other protesters with their faces covered.

12.45 Wondering why the students are protesting? Here's a video of one protester explaining what he hopes to gain from it.

12.42 Met Police insist they have no intention of using a water cannon on protesters today, despite rumours circulating around the City.

12.35 The march is now heading towards Shaftesbury Avenue - it's now closed southbound from New Oxford Street and Cambridge Circus.

12.34 4,000 police are being deployed - only around 4,000 students so far. Even with the expected 10,000 protesters, that's still one police officer per 2.5 protesters.

12.32 More from LBC reporter Dan Freedman


Protesters chanting at police telling them where they can stick their rubber bullets and water cannons.


12.30 We're putting together a gallery of all the best photos from the student protest. Take a look...
The best photos from the student protests

12.28 LBC's Dan Whitehead says: "You can really notice a massively increase in police presence in central London. Every St corner it seems"
Student protest police

12.26 More placards:
- Pick on someone your own class
- I don't like your Eton Mess
- Cameron, Get Your shiny forehead out of my education
- Even Maggie wouldn't sink this low

12.23 Around 2,000 people at ULU now, and numbers growing all the time.
student protest

12.20 Twenty minutes into the march... and already it's 15 minutes behind schedule! Slowly heading down Gower Street.

12.19 Baroness Doocey, Liberal Democrat London Assembly policing spokeswoman, has spoken out against the potential use of baton rounds.


Plastic bullets have no role in policing demonstrations in London," she said. "Their use in Northern Ireland has led to seventeen lives being lost, including eight children. How can anyone believe plastic bullets deliver security when their record is so horrific?


12.16 Among the placards at the student protests:
- "Rubber bullets won't erase education"
- "You can stop the flower power, but you can't stop the spring"
- And a lot of abuse for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

12.14 If you're in London, you'll know there is a protest on. The police helicopter is up in the sky.

12.09 Already reports on Twitter that the joyous mood is turning more angry.

James Orr, Daily Telegraph


Students in full chant mode now. Cameron getting an earful. Mood suddenly more militant


12.06 A reminder of the protest route. The march will start at Malet Street, heading via Gower Street, Bloomsbury Street, Shaftesbury Avenue to Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square - past LBC Towers.
See the full protest march route

12.03 Here's the crowd from the march so far. Image: @trplatt

12.00 The march is getting underway. Estimates say around 1,000 protesters are there - nowhere near the 10,000 predicted at present.

11.56 Dan Freedman has found some placards from protesters with a sense of humour.
fire extinguisher placard

11.55 LBC reporter Dan Freedman is at the student protest - follow him @freedmanator

11.51 Hundreds of students gathered in Malet Street for the protest - definitely more hundreds than thousands so far.

11.47 More from that remarkable leaflet telling students how to protest. This is how to get out of a police kettle by force: "Ensure you have a lot of energetic people"!

11.34 The Met Police meanwhile say: 


At present there is no intention to use baton rounds on today's demonstrations.


11.32 There are reports that police will attempt to kettle the proesters between the Museum of London at London Wall and Coleman Street if the march gets out of hand.

11.18 The LBC 97.3 Facebook page has been buzzing with debate on the plastic bullets. Here's a couple of thoughts:

Jackie White


Speaking as a Mother I would hate the thought my teenager could be seriously injured by one of these, not that mine go to demos. What's wrong with water cannon... it would be edffective very quickly and getting a bit wet and uncomfortable and a bit cold would do less harm. "Rubber" bullets can injure.


Daveyone Familylawman


I stood at Parliament sq on Saturday and watched a mishmash of protesters go by at about 2Pm, as I stood next to 20+ cops I had to feel for what they face, terror Riots and protests .I hope rubber bullets will be a last reort, but if you are faced with fire extingusherbeing hurled from an upper floor what are they supposed to do??


11.16 It's a fascinating debate on whether plastic bullets are the right response to violence by the police. This is what they look like.
baton rounds

11.10 It's not just the students who are protesting today. Thousands of electricians, plumbers and engineers are to join a rally at Blackfriars Railway Station at 1pm in a row over jobs and skills.

And then taxi drivers are calling for a Mass Drive-In Demonstration at Trafalgar Square at 4pm - which is sure to cause chaos for the drivetime rush-hour.

11.07 Bank staff have been told to dress down in The City for personal safety.

11.01 An hour until the protest gets underway at Malet Street from the University College of London Union.

10.47 LBC has obtained the leaflets that students have been passing around amongst each other, illustrating the best way to protest. One piece of advice is that one option is to blockade something by "supergluing your hand to your arm, whilst linked around other people doing the same"!
student leaflet top

10.38 Occupy London have released a statement condemning the police announcement that plastic bullets would be available. They said:


Occupy London condemns the unhelpful and counterproductive press briefings given yesterday which present the spectre of rubber bullets being used in this country against peaceful protesters. We remind all those reading this that many of those protesting today will be under 18.


10.30 Roads in central London are already being closed and banks boarded up ahead of the march. Police are deploying 4,000 officers to control the protest.

10.27 Today's protest will start at Malet Street at noon before marching to London Wall via Gower Street, Bloomsbury Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road, Duncannon Street, The Strand, Fetter Lane, Holborn Viaduct, Newgate Street - past Occupy London at St Paul's Cathedral - and King Edward Street in Moorgate.
See the full protest march route

10.23 Police, meanwhile, will have the option of using baton rounds - otherwise known as plastic bullets - to control the protests if they get out of hand.
Met Police: Baton Rounds Ready for Student Protest

10.15 This year, organisers are hoping for a peaceful protest, but anarchists have promised to "unleash a sea of rage".

10.07 A year ago when student protests took place, violence erupted on four separate occations, culminating in Prince Charles's car being attacked.
10th November 2010: Students Take Over Millbank Tower
24th November 2010: Student Protests Turn Violent Again
30th November 2010: Student Protest Causes Travel Chaos
9th December 2010: Students Attack Prince Charles's Car

10.00 Welcome to Demo Day! More than 10,000 students are marching through the streets of London to protest against tuition fees and government cuts.