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Students take to streets over fees

Nationwide demonstrations against deeply unpopular plans to ramp up student tuition fees have been marred by violence once again.

Thousands of young people incensed by the threat of substantial debts at the end of their time at university took to the streets.

The vast majority took part in peaceful marches, occupations and vigils as MPs debated the potential impact of the changes in Westminster.

Early in the day, hundreds of demonstrators ran from police in Whitehall, in central London, over fears they would be "kettled" just yards from the start of a planned march.

A hardcore group of around 100 people were eventually surrounded in Trafalgar Square as one male officer was taken to hospital with head injuries.

Scotland Yard said it had arrested 153 people. After a group of protesters refused to leave Trafalgar Square at the end of the demonstration, 139 people were arrested for breach of the peace and seven on suspicion of violent disorder.

Earlier in the day, two people were arrested in the capital for public order offences, one for common assault, one was arrested for obstructing police and three people were arrested for criminal damage.

In Bristol, 10 people were arrested as police were pelted with mustard when thousands of students from both universities in the city marched.

Also on Tuesday, Business Secretary Vince Cable signalled he may abstain when the Commons is asked to approve the tuition fees rise he is pushing through.

Under pressure for reneging on a pre-election pledge to oppose any rise in fees, he said he was prepared to sit out the vote on his own policy if other Liberal Democrat MPs did the same. Lib Dem parliamentary candidates signed a pledge to oppose any hike in university fees only for the coalition Government to decide that the rise was necessary.


From Belfast Telegraph