Lancaster University Students’ Union today condemned the violent activity at yesterday’s student demonstration in London.
In a statement recently issued, LUSU said: “The strong and positive message of hope which was conjured up by our protest was rapidly destroyed and the press has rightly focused on the actions of the few which sell headlines, but achieve phenomenal levels of bad will.”
The demonstration, organised by the National Union of Students and the University and Colleges Union, was reported to have 52,000 people in attendance. They marched from Whitehall to Millbank in protest of a possible rise in tuition fees, with the cap potentially moving to £9,000.
Towards the end of the protest, a splinter group of protestors forced their way into 30 Millbank – the Conservative Party headquarters – and caused what is thought to be thousands of pounds worth of damage, with students and police officers alike being injured. 50 people were arrested overall.
While LUSU were critical of the events at Millbank, it did not speak out against the principle of direct action. The statement continued: “LUSU recognises that there is more than one form of protest and that direct action per se should never be written off completely as an effective style of demonstration.”
“Many people across the country are supportive of this heightened style of protest. However, there can be no doubt that the violence in yesterday’s action makes our work over the next few weeks and months harder as it was far less well received.”
The overall message of the Union was clear, as it sought to emphasise the unrepresentative nature of the violence: “As a Union, we must be sure to thoroughly condemn this violence which was not part of the planned itinerary for the day and which is in no way representative of the views or behaviour of the majority of Lancaster students.”