(Published in my university student newspaper Flex, on Page 6).
The work of 50,000 demonstrators in the student fees protest is overshadowed as a violent group of protestors cause a riot at the Tory HQ.
A group of demonstrators broke into the Millibank building after yesterday’s protest, smashing the windows and setting fire to banners outside, turning what was a peaceful protest turned into a violent riot.
One protestor threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of the building. It has been reported that they may now face a charge of attempted murder.
“This was not part of the plan,” said Aaron Porter, President of NUS. “This action was by others who have come out and used this opportunity to hijack a peaceful protest.”
Around 200 protesters headed back to the Tory HQ at the end of the Demolition protest against education cuts on 10th November.
Some made their way into the building and onto the roof whilst others lit fires outside and started banging on the glass chanting “Tory scum” in a violent break-away from what, until then, had been a good-natured protest.
The organisers of the protest commented: “We did everything we could to organise a peaceful and responsible action, but sadly it was hijacked and our press coverage overshadowed.”
Equipment from the office was used to destroy the room whilst masked and hooded protesters smashed the windows of the Millibank office complex.
Placards were thrown onto the fire outside and chants became aggressive as a crowd gathered outside the building.
Police were unprepared and hopelessly outnumbered. Armed with truncheons and shields, they did their best to keep the situation under control, though many sustained injuries.
Missiles began to fly towards the large plate glass windows across the front of the building, which was only protected by a thin line of police.
Although some believed their actions were in spite of the protest, those on the roof only provoked ‘boo’s’ from the crowd below. Student leaders condemned the violence as “despicable”.
Most of the students who took part in the protest did not intend on pursuing in any violent acts to get their point across.
Gopi Mohan, MA Photography graduate at UCF, said: “The riot was a major let down. The protest had a very good reason but the riot did not have any. Whatever the reason for the people who started it give, it was not fair and I hope they are not proud of what they did.”