Defend the right to protest sign now

The Con-Dem government has launched a savage attack on further and higher education. The Tories plan to increase tuition fees to 9,000 a year, make swingeing cuts in courses and lecturers and teachers jobs. They also plan to cut the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The EMA is a small grant given to students in further education to enable them to attend college. Any cut in the EMA would deny many poorer students the opportunity to access further education.

The ministers in this Con-Dem government all benefited from free education they received grants and their tuition fees were paid by the state. Now they want to close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

Their policies are creating a two-tier education system.

On Wednesday 10 November over 50,000 students and lecturers marched in central London against the Con-Dem plans. This is the biggest demonstration over education this country has seen for more than two decades.

The Guardian newspaper headline declared This is just the beginning. It is right, the Tories attacks on the poor and trade union movement means that there will be many more strikes and protests against the governments austerity measures.

Britain is not the only country facing huge cuts and austerity measures. Across Europe, particularly in Greece, France and Ireland there have been massive protests, occupations and sit-ins against the austerity plans their governments have tried to introduce.

It therefore can be no surprise that when the students and lecturers marched passed the Tory Party HQ, thousands of protestors occupied the building and its courtyard.

The next day some sections of the media carried lurid stories attacking those that occupied Millbank.

This witch-hunt is an attempt to detract peoples attention away from the real issues. A few broken windows are nothing compared to the wholesale destruction of the education system and the welfare state.

We the undersigned believe:

1. It is vital that we all unite to stop the governments attacks.

2. We support all those students and lecturers falsely arrested at Millbank who are fighting to clear their names.

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Eugene PonceBy:
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