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10,000 London Students Back in Streets to Mark Anniversary of Protests

Common Dreams staff

Two years after a massive UK student movement broke out in protest of austerity cuts and the rising costs of education, young protesters have once again taken to the streets to remind the world that their problems have not disappeared.

Roughly 10,000 students marched through London Wednesday, organized by the National Union of Students (NUS), in the first national student protest since parliament voted to allow drastic tuition and fee increases for students, in the name of austerity, two years ago.

The protests of November 2010 drew 50,000 students in London and resulted in the student occupation of Conservative Party offices in Millbank, London, along with widely documented police brutality.

"Education should open doors, but the government is slamming them shut," said the NUS leader, Liam Burns.

"The damaging effects of recent changes to education have restricted access for future students and created new barriers for those currently studying," he said.

Unlike the protests two years ago, however, police have managed to keep their batons off of students, despite a minor standoff in the middle of the march.

Prior to the march, the NUS published a survey which said the majority of voters had not forgiven, and will not vote again for, Lib Dem MPs including leader Nick Clegg, who broke campaign promises by raising tuition fees.

The march was joined by protesters from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and other protesters who diverted from the route agreed upon by the NUS and London Police -- expressing anger that the more tame NUS was to ready to comply with London authorities.

Michael Chessum of the National Campaign said the demonstration was about a "failure of the political system."

"We are calling for education funded by taxing the rich and big business."

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