Protestors condemn violence at tuition fees demonstration

PASSIONATE students from Weston College who took part in the huge tuition fees demonstration have condemned those who turned the event into a battlefield.

Performing arts undergraduate, Molly Francis, went to London with a group of 44 students from the college to protest against the new Government’s hike in the cost of tuition fees.

Molly, of Kew Road, Weston, said that an ‘inspirational’ occasion turned ugly because of a handful of people bent on causing trouble after buildings were vandalised during the march.

The 20-year-old said: “We felt it was important to add our voices to the protest, and to tell (Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister) Nick Clegg that he had betrayed us. I didn’t realise so many people would be there and it was a really good atmosphere.

“We were towards the end of the march and when we got close to the Conservative party offices we saw a fire had been started. It was obvious there was trouble.

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“We went to see what was going on but when we saw what was happening we decided to leave.”

Molly, said that earlier in the day they had seen some signs directing people to the ‘real protest’ and these were marked with red flags.

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She said people on rooftops were waving red flags and the college group had a feeling the protest had been hijacked by outside parties.

Molly added: “Out of about 50,000 demonstrators only about 1,000 took part in the trouble. Of course all the press headlines were about the trouble and they weren’t representative of the day as a whole.

“The majority of students who attended were there for the right reasons, which was to protest against something we see as unfair.”

Molly, whose foundation degree in performing arts is validated by Bath Spa University, said she is worried that the introduction of higher fees may result in her having to leave her course before it is completed.

She said: “If these fees come in I’m not sure I will be able to afford my final year, which would be horrible. I would definitely go on another march. It’s important to keep on fighting against such increases.”

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