Home > Tuition Fee Riots > A Chronicle of the California, London and Italy Tuition Fee Protests

A Chronicle of the California, London and Italy Tuition Fee Protests

Photo from the New York Times – Slideshow

A still taken from Russia Today’s “London Riot: Tory HQ smashed by British students” video

Students block the highway in Bologna, Italy
from Gian Filippo – Associated Press

Students cause chaos around Italy in cuts protest
11/30/2010/07:56 ET
from the BBC

Italian student protesters have been causing major disruption in the capital, Rome, and other cities as MPs debate a bill on education reform.

Rome was brought to a virtual standstill by the Block Everything Day ahead of the vote on spending cuts and time limits on research.

Students argue the cuts breach their right to education.

Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini has defended the reform, which is aimed at saving billions of euros over the next two years, and creating a more merit-based system.

Students blocked roads and central squares in Rome, and hundreds surrounded the Chamber of Deputies as riot police maintained a tight cordon.

Cars were unable to circulate around the city as other students blocked roads and major throughways.

Rubbish protest

Traffic was disrupted in other major cities, from Turin to Palermo, while students blocked the tracks at railway stations in Milan, Pisa and Venice.

In Naples, protesters took advantage of the rubbish collection crisis to throw the debris and rubbish bags lining the streets at the doors of the regional government office, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Berlusconi’s government faces confidence votes in both the lower and upper houses of parliament on 14 December.

The prime minister says he is optimistic about winning the votes but he has been beset by defections from his coalition and allegations about his behaviour.

Recently the prime minister denied improper conduct in the case of a teenage nightclub dancer who was released from a police cell following his intervention. – Source with video

University of California regents vote on fee hike


by the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – University of California officials are voting on a tuition hike that has fueled violent protests, leaving four police officers injured and more than a dozen protesters arrested.

The UC Board of Regents, meeting at UC San Francisco, will consider Thursday a proposal to raise student fees by 8 percent next fall while expanding financial aid to more students.

If approved, student fees for California residents would increase by $822 to $11,124. The figure doesn’t include individual campus fees or room and board. The increase would raise an estimated $180 million in annual revenue, with $64 million set aside for financial aid.

Students at Wednesday’s demonstration called on the regents to reject the tuition hike, which would follow a 32 percent fee increase that went into effect this fall.

“Students every year are paying more and more for an education that they’re getting less and less from,” said Jared McCreary, 23, a fourth-year student majoring in history and political science at UC Riverside. “You still see a lot of students struggling, having to take out loans, working multiple jobs. That’s the reality of the situation.”

Police arrested 13 people, including 10 UC students, during the demonstration outside the campus building where the Board of Regents was meeting, said campus police Chief Pamela Roskowski.

One student was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon after a campus police officer was hit in the head with his own baton, Roskowski said. – More here


London Tuition Fee Protestor Lewis Evans throws a chair at the Tory Headquarters

Student tuition fee protests: police failed to monitor anarchists’ internet chatter planning violence

11/2010/7:00 P.M. GMT

by Richard Edwards

Scotland Yard was condemned yesterday for an “intelligence” failure after it emerged that anarchist groups had been openly threatening violence at the tuition fees protests eight days before the march in London.

The Radical Workers’ and Students’ Bloc boasted on several known anarchist websites, chatrooms and Facebook that it would be taking “direct action” and encouraged the “occupation” of key sites.

A unit at Scotland Yard routinely scans the “chatter” on the internet before protests, but there are questions over how it either missed or ignored the suggestion of violence and the involvement of known anarchist groups.

It meant the planning process was flawed and the force was caught short when trouble flared at the Conservative Party headquarters on Millbank in central London.

Kit Malthouse, the head of the Metropolitan Police’s watchdog, admitted yesterday: “The problem seems to be a gap in the intelligence. From the large amount of work they did before the event, did police they have the right intelligence? And what assessment did they put behind that, which meant they put 250 people on the streets to police it?”

The Radical Workers’ and Students’ Bloc, identified by red and black flags flown from the roof of Millbank Tower, was organised by the Anarchist Federation, along with the London Solidarity Federation. The Leeds Class War group and the Whitechapel Anarchist Group also confirmed yesterday that they were involved in the trouble. – More here

Student tuition fee protests: security guards were powerless to act, then riot ringleaders

11/12/2010/7:00 A.M. GMT

by Gordon Rayner and Laura Roberts

Hundreds of hours of CCTV and television news footage will be studied, together with thousands of photographs, by officers trying to put names to the snarling faces of the culprits.

Among those being sought urgently are a protester who threw a fire extinguisher from the roof of 30 Millbank and youths who kicked in windows or used chairs, hammers and metal bars to smash glass in the building’s atrium. As well as those who were arrested, 250 people were searched, photographed and released “pending further investigation”, but many of the ringleaders are thought to have escaped police attention, meaning further arrests are likely to follow.

Witnesses said many of the hooligans who destroyed the ground floor of the building and sprayed anarchist slogans on the walls had left by the time police gained control of the situation and made arrests.

One protester also suggested the man who threw the fire extinguisher was among a group who left the roof by a fire escape before police moved in.

Sam Davies, a 19-year-old anthropology student, said: “In the building some people got hold of fire extinguishers and sprayed them around the offices which they trashed.

“There were a few security guards around but they were powerless to do anything to stop what was happening because they were heavily outnumbered. They called for back-up but there were only about 20 police around. – More here

Riot rabble who targeted Tory HQ: Unmasked, the hardcore leaders of the student mob


by Richard Pendlebury

There was an expat grandfather, a university tutor, a teenage schoolboy, a recent law graduate and a wealthy foreign student whose education was part-funded by the British taxpayer.

What they all had in common yesterday was an apparent central role in the riot which saw Tory Party HQ in Millbank Tower trashed by a howling mob.

As 50 people were released on police bail pending the examination of photograph and video footage of the mayhem, a picture began to emerge yesterday of the disparate nature of those involved.

The shock felt by many present contrasted with the glee expressed by a hardcore.

A large number of middle-class students who travelled to Central London to take part peacefully in their first demonstration had found themselves inadvertently propelled into the frontline.

But it also became clear that the violence, which left 14 injured and caused thousands of pounds of damage, was orchestrated and inflamed by a number of far-Left groups.

Last night Luke Cooper, a tutor in international relations at the University of Sussex and a member the pressure group Revolution, confirmed the event was carefully organised.

He said: ‘There has always been a plan for Revolution and the International Coalition Against Fees and Cuts to take direct action after the National Union of Students demo.

‘There are a number of different Government buildings in that part of London and all of them would have been legitimate targets for protest and occupation.’

Revolution’s website states: ‘We are a group of young activists who are fed up with unemployment, war, poverty, cuts and capitalism. We want to bring down Cam and Clegg’s millionaire coalition and replace it with socialism.’ – More here

Protests Turn Violent in London


by Sarah Lyall

The protesters scuffled with police officers, set off flares, burned placards and kicked at windows until they shattered.

As of midafternoon, the protesters and police were at a standoff outside the building, Millbank Tower in Westminster. Some protesters had climbed onto a nearby roof terrace. Others continued to try, sometimes successfully, to enter the building, only to be escorted out again by the police. At one point the fire alarm went off and some workers left, but many then returned.

“They seem to be holding the line reasonably well at the moment,” a worker inside the building told the BBC by telephone. “We’re just trying to get on with our work.”

Elsewhere, thousands of people massed near Parliament to condemn the government’s education proposals, which would allow universities to charge between £6,000 ($9,600) and £9,000 ($14,400) in tuition a year, up from the current cap of £3,290($5,264). The protest was the largest street demonstration so far against the government’s plans, announced last month, to cut public spending by some $130 billion by 2015.

Unions and public-sector employees have promised further demonstrations and strikes in the months to come.

Tuition is a politically sensitive subject in Britain, where universities are heavily financed by the government. Until the late 1990’s, university students paid nothing. The Labour government then introduced tuition, eventually raising the maximum rate that universities could charge to the current level.

But the current government, a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, has announced plans to cut teaching grants to universities and said it has no choice but to raise tuition to fill the shortfall.

That has presented a dilemma for the Liberal Democrats, the junior, more vulnerable members in the coalition, who made abolishing university tuition altogether a core element of their platform in last spring’s general election. – More here

David Cameron has called for the ”full force of the law” to be used against people who assaulted police or damaged property during protests about student tuition fees.

11/112010/2:02 P.M. GMT

If you know any of the individuals involved email studentriots@telegraph.co.uk

Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused as protesters smashed windows, damaged furniture and daubed walls with graffiti, sparking a four-hour stand-off in Westminster. Police have arrested 50 people.

The violence followed what was meant to be a peaceful protest against higher tuition fees organised by the National Union of Students.

Outlining yesterday’s events to MPs, Mr Herbert said a ”violent faction” had ”directed a series of criminal acts” against the office complex on Millbank following the demonstration.

”The Government has been clear that we are committed to supporting peaceful protest,” he said.

”But, as the Prime Minister said this morning, we are equally clear that when people are bent on violence and destruction of property then that is completely unacceptable.”

The NUS had originally predicted 5,000 demonstrators would be present, Mr Herbert said, which was later revised to 15,000. – More here

Students march through London to protest against ‘elitist’ tuition fees


by Cahal Milmo

Thousands of students yesterday achieved what 400 hauliers and farmers failed to do a day earlier, by bringing large parts of central London to a halt, on a mass march against higher education fees.

Thousands of students yesterday achieved what 400 hauliers and farmers failed to do a day earlier, by bringing large parts of central London to a halt, on a mass march against higher education fees.

Undergraduates from more than 150 universities and colleges paraded, for three hours, along a five-mile route that crossed the Thames, waving banners and blowing whistles, causing traffic jams, as police closed off some of the capital’s busiest thoroughfares.

In contrast to the fuel protesters, the event, billed as the biggest student march for a decade, failed to bring immediate concessions from the government, despite claims that the abolition of maintenance grants is driving ethnic minorities and the poorest youngsters from higher education.

The National Union of Students, which organised the protest, said that the average cost of a degree from next year will be between £14,000 and £15,000 in tuition fees and living costs. The number of black students applying to go to university has fallen by 10 per cent since 1997 and the number of applications from men from working-class backgrounds fell by 7 per cent in the same period, according to the NUS.

The student body said proposals for “top-up fees” – extra tuition charges of up to £5,000 suggested by Vice-Chancellors at some of the top universities – threatened to turn the higher-education system into one based on financial muscle, rather than academic. – More here

California Students Protest, Riot Over Tuition Gouging

11/20/2009/4:03 P.M.

by Phil Villarreal on

Responding to UC regents’ efforts to slap students with a 32 percent tuition increase, groups at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA and other schools took to the streets, 1960s style, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Things apparently got the craziest at UCLA, the Chronicle writes:

“Students, furious at the increase that will bring their yearly fees above $10,000 for the first time, rushed the UCLA building where the regents were meeting, throwing food, sticks and vinegar-soaked red bandannas meant to look like blood. UC police arrested 14 people for disrupting the meeting and resisting arrest.” – More here

Hundreds of students lay down to symbolize the “Death of Public Education”

Photo from Damian Dovarganes of the Associated Press

UCLA crowds decry fee increase

UC regents give final approval to boost cost 32%

11/19/2009/8:09 A.M.by Teresa Rochester

Hundreds of students lay down to symbolize the ‘Death of Public Education,’ as they protest peacefully outside the UCLA campus Covel Commons building, where University of California regents were scheduled to vote on a 32 percent student fee increase, on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009. The UC Board of Regents is considering boosting undergraduate fees, the equivalent of tuition, by $2,500 by summer 2010.

LOS ANGELES — WESTWOOD — Chanting and holding signs, while others blew whistles and rang cow bells, hundreds of noisy protesters demonstrated for a second day at UCLA on Thursday as University of California leaders approved a 32 percent increase in student fees.

Students, labor leaders and politicians rallied outside the Board of Regents’ meeting on campus, chanting “Shame on you!” after learning the governing board of the University of California approved the higher fees.

The $2,500 student fee increase was approved after two days of tense protests across the state. Scores of police in riot gear guarded the building as the Board of Regents voted.

The increase will push the cost of an undergraduate education at California’s premier public schools to over $10,000 a year by next fall, about triple the cost of a decade ago. The fees, the equivalent of tuition, do not include the cost of housing, board and books.

“Our hand has been forced,” UC President Mark Yudof told reporters after the vote. “When you don’t have any money, you don’t have any money.”

Some staff and board members were trapped in the building for up to several hours after the meeting because of the disruption outside. A van carrying regents and staff was surrounded and delayed by protesters as it tried to leave campus. – More here

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