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To think that just because it was a student protest, it doesn't follow that the violent thugs in masks were students?

(106 Posts)
LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 10:58:52

Four of the people arrested were arrested for burglary -surely it is obvious that they were there for their own agenda? And took advantage of the students protesting as cover for their own actions?

They were wearing masks. Clearly didn't want to be identified. Peaceful student protestors were not.

The people attacking the royal car weren't yelling about student fees, neither the people that tried to break into the treasury.

There are no figures yet for how many of those arrested were actually students.

So before everyone jumps on the charge students more if they're going to vandalise things bandwagon. Can we have some acknowledgment of the fact that we've got no idea how many students were even involved.

dickiedavismincepies Fri 10-Dec-10 11:06:14

Blinking loads of them were. There will always be a faction of people who'll turn up to a protest to cause trouble but a cursory search of the internet shows god knows how many student blogs basically bigging up the violence and deciding that they are anarchists.

I feel really sorry for the students who are protesting peacefully because a small faction have completely buggered it up for someone else - if those are 'the future' then then god help us all.

LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 11:11:48

There are a lot of very angry people talking shit on the Internet.

I don't think that translates into masks on and going down to smash windows. Which takes a totally different mindset.

Were you there? Really want some facts about who the people arrested were.

NorwegianMoon Fri 10-Dec-10 11:14:06

this is a very obvious point to make. obviously many people were there for their own means as always happens. im still glad they were there helping to build the numbers

LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 11:23:29

It is a sign of my frustration that I'm posting this.

I've heard so many times that students don't deserve any sympathy because of what has happened at protests, even though so far there is no evidence that any students took part in violence yesterday -

I'm sure there will be some, it's just that most newspapers and public opinion seems to be that it was the majority behaving that way and so their arguments are invalidated.

XmascarolOfFact Fri 10-Dec-10 11:25:28

YANBU, I thought the same. It's not like you had to flash your NUS card to be able to protest, so it was undoubtedly a bit of a free-for-all - some wanting to make a point about fees, others just wanting to make a point about the government/police/the establishment, and some doubtless doing both. Those engaging in anti-social behaviour detract from the main message of the protests though, so they were either pretty daft students or non-students with their own agenda.

I wasn't there, but think I know where my money is.

DuelingFanio Fri 10-Dec-10 11:26:35

I've been on countless demos and there will always be people who have gone there just for a fight. I was amazed by how Sky managed to edit together dsome of the footage from yesterday to make it look much more violent than it was.

It makes me laugh that one small incident with Prince Charles which lasted a couple of minutes has become such a big story, talk about cleverly spinning the news to take the focus off the real issues.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 11:29:47

TBH, it's not sustainable for people not to pay for higher education if it's expected that 50% should go, anymore than it is for people to expect to 'retire' in their 60s anymore and live in comfort playing golf till they're 100+.

People are just going to have to get over it.

Yes, in the past it was free (not so many went, either). Yes, in the past you could retire at 55 and own a nice house outright and swan around on cruises.

This is now.

Too bad. Tough shit.

And I'm one of those who will have to work till I drop.

That's life.

headfairy Fri 10-Dec-10 11:33:32

Weasel, I don't think they'll release much information about those arrested in case they're charged. FWIW I think you're right, I wasn't exactly there but I did see much of the unbroadcast footage. There were lots of people there just to cause trouble, but there were also some students involved in the violence definitely. We spoke to some of them.

I think a lof of them were very caught up in the excitement (for want of a better word) of it all, for many their first demonstration or experience of out and out rebellion and they got carried away. I think some might think they've got away with things but will probably get a shock when the police come knocking, there were a lot of evidence collectors there.

takethatlady Fri 10-Dec-10 11:34:09

I've been posting about this on another thread so apologies for repeating myself.

But I have been disgusted less by the students (also academics, by the way, many of whom were on the marches) and more by a) the coverage and b) the police.

I work in academia and know lots of students and academics who have been on the marches. On the first march a friend of mine, who is generally afraid of crowds and had never been on a march before, said she marched for 5 hours and never saw any police until the very end. The police totally underestimated the fact that there would be 50,000 people there. Since then it has been proven that they have deliberately left a police van unattended in the hope it would be vandalised, and several MNers have reported being pushed and smacked by the police for no apparent reason. One lady said she had been on her mobile phone arranging to leave the protest and meet her husband for a coffee, nowhere near any scene of violence, and a policeman told her to get off the phone. When she didn't immediately comply he smacked her on the head causing her phone to go flying. WTF?!

The coverage has depicted students breaking away from the planned routes to commit violence. In the first march they were ON the planned route but no police presence until too late. Yesterday the police actually cordoned off the route they had agreed with the protesters and were kettling them and herding them into other areas - what do they expect but tempers to fray?

Not only that but this is not just about students not wanting to pay for their educations. Arts, humanities and social science subjects are going to have ZERO government funding now, and student fees will cover the entire amount. This means students will pay triple, but universities will end up with less money, so the student experience will be more expensive and yet worse. It also means that important research and expertise that goes on in universities is under threat. In the 1980s when market forces were brought into Higher Ed subjects like Islamic Studies and Chinese Studies went down the pan because research in these areas was made to depend on the amount of students you could get to study those subjects. What do we need now? People (not students, but academics with lifelong study behind them) with real expertise in Islamic/Chinese law, culture, religion, economics, politics, history and so on. But because 17/18 year olds didn't want to study those subjects twenty years ago those subjects died and the academics went overseas or gave up.

So much of our culture is supported by academic research - exhibitions, museums, television and radio programming, policy making, books and printed media - and everybody can benefit from this regardless of whether they went to university or not. If we want an educated, intelligent, democratic workforce and educated, intelligent, democratic citizens, then having the police provoke and incite violence from students and taking away educational opportunities seems like a ridiculous way to go.

Protests often tip over into violence. I'm sure many individual policemen and women did an excellent job, but goading and herding thousands of people into violence in order to undermine their arguments is a joke and a disgrace.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 11:40:26

Sorry, takethat, but things need to change. That's how it is. We're all having to pay more for everything, benefits to the disabled have been cut even, SureStart is no longer protected, pensioners are eventually going to have to shoulder their share of the load as well.

I don't have much sympathy with the students, especially after yesterday.

It all doesn't kick in until you're earning £21,000/annum anyhow.

People are going to have to become more creative and self-reliant when it comes to higher education and life in general.

LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 11:41:36

Headfairy - I'm not surprised by that really! I would expect some students to get carried away.

I just really resent the misinformation that is going around about who was being violent and why.

expat there are lots of threads about whether fees are acceptable or not. My OP is about how the protests are being portrayed.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 11:43:13

Yes, well, La, it's not for you to dictate how a thread goes just because you started it on this board. So I'm free to post as I please so long as it is not personally attacking another poster, which I am not.

LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 11:46:16

It would be nice if your posts had anything to do with the OP though.

Shouting loudest doesn't make you right.

takethatlady Fri 10-Dec-10 11:46:30

expat I recognise that there are lots of people who feel that way and all we can do is agree to disagree. As someone who works inside the system I know that 1) I know quite a bit about it but 2) I'm also likely to be biased.

What I was drawing attention to was not just my view on valuing education and the arts and humanities (and in my view you only get out what you put in - universities MAKE the country far more money than they cost), about which we clearly disagree. It was about false and misleading media coverage, mistreatment of students and academics by the police (goading and herding people into violent situations and then blaming them for it), and the fact that all protests with such huge numbers are likely to end with some people misbehaving. Not that that should be tolerated, but it obscures and distorts the issues at hand.

Obviously the issues themselves are up for debate, and I recognise that my view is not the only one. But I wish people were talking about that instead of some well-edited clips of bad behaviour by a small minority, many of whom were goaded, kettled and herded by the police ...

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 11:49:51

I'm not shouting, either, La.

I don't find it false or misleading coverage, either, takethat.

Aside from the car, a lot of property is left quite damaged - graffiti, smashed glass, torn up stuff, litter all over the place.

All for the council taxpayer to pay to clean up.

It's not going to endear the general public towards the cause of students, tbh.

All you have to do is read comments on most news sites today to see that.

LaWeaselMys Fri 10-Dec-10 11:53:03

But we don't know that the major damage (smashed glass etc) was done by students.

That is the point of my OP.

takethatlady Fri 10-Dec-10 11:53:56

But if the media coverage is unreliable then reading the 'news sites' is not really proof of the truth, is it?!

Why don't you find the media coverage biased? I have told you why I do - because I know many people who were there, whom I trust, have read plenty of firsthand accounts by parents and families on MN, have students who attended (and so does my DH who is a school teacher) and were mistreated by the police.

Who is getting interviewed on the news? The police. Who is not? The students.

It is biased because the reports coming out of the 'news sites' are totally at odds

There were thousands and thousands of people on that march, the vast majority of whom did not cause any trouble. Many of those were pushed, shoved and hurt by the police. They were forced into areas that were not on the agreed route. They were held in areas against their will - not because they were being violent, but because the police wanted to hold them there. It was admitted by the police that in last week's protest they deliberately left a van unattended in the hope that it would be vandalised - that's inciting a crime!

THAT is why I think the coverage is not representative of what actually happened.

takethatlady Fri 10-Dec-10 11:54:33

Sorry - 'at odds with the accounts of people who were there'.

takethatlady Fri 10-Dec-10 11:56:36

Also - sorry la, I've helped this go off topic and I didn't mean to.

You're right - how do we know it was students? It's not only that randoms could have turned up wanting to cause trouble, but also that the bona fide marchers aren't only students - they're parents, teachers, academics, anti-coalition protesters, and all sorts!

Utterly ridiculous to demonise students and to stigmatise them as lazy and violent. Just plays into the hands of the policy instead of stepping back and analysing what's really going on.

Cakesandale Fri 10-Dec-10 11:58:13

have to say I agree with expat.

And also - I hope to God that most of those interviewed weren't students: otherwise we're all screwed. Most of them seemed to be having trouble stringing two thoughts together.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 11:59:05

So what do you think the police should have done, takethat?

Because I find large crowds of people tend to have to be policed, be it a street festival, a concert, a parade or a protest, or it can quickly get out of hand.

All large crowds have to be police-managed, if anything to avoid potential for trampling.

The fact that some of this crowd went and vandalised, destroyed property, attacked animals or went after Chuck and Cam shows they were not self-regulating.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 12:00:36

'Utterly ridiculous to demonise students and to stigmatise them as lazy and violent.'

I don't see anyone doing that here. I just don't have any real sympathy with what they see as their cause/plight/etc.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Dec-10 12:01:30

And no sympathy with destroying property and violence because of fee rises.

QuickLookBusySanta Fri 10-Dec-10 12:02:22

I agree with you OP.

I was caught up in Student protests in Bristol. They were very tame compared to London and the vast majority of students were peaceful.

However at the back of the group, right next to the police there were about 30 "students" with faces covered, whose only intention was to aggravate the police. These few students wouldnt move[they were blocking a major road]
they were shouting and swearing in the police's faces, and as an encore threw fireworks at the police horses.sad

I support the students (my DD1 is one) but after what I saw with my own eyes I think the police are between a rock and a hard place,concerning how they react.

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