Violence at student fees demo leads to 35 arrests

Marion Dakers
HUNDREDS of protestors stormed the Conservative party headquarters yesterday after a protest over university tuition fees spiralled out of control, leading to a total of 35 arrests.

The Metropolitan Police said last night that 14 people had been taken to hospital, including seven police officers, for injuries picked up during the protests in which 52,000 mostly peaceful activists took to the streets against a hike in fees and cuts to government spending on higher education.

Around 200 people barricaded themselves on the roof of Tory HQ on Millbank after what the National Union of Students described as a group of rogue protestors smashed the glass front of the building, while hundreds more built a bonfire made from placards outside.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said police needed to examine how a small minority had “shamefully abused their right to protest”.

“This is intolerable and all those involved will be pursued and they will face the full force of the law,” he said. “The Metropolitan Police commissioner has assured me that there will be a vigorous post-incident investigation.”

“We did not expect this level of violence,” Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said in a TV interview later. “This was thuggish and loutish behaviour by criminals. It’s not acceptable, it is an embarrassment for London and for us.”