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On Saturday 29 January thousands of students took to the streets in Manchester and London to show their steadfast contempt towards education cuts.
The protest in Manchester was organised by the UCU (University and College Union) and the NUS (National Union of Students) through their Fund Our Future Campaign. NUS President, Aaron Porter, sent out an email the previous day urging people to come out and “defend education and young people from the coalition government’s ruthless programme of cuts.”
Porter, however, received a frosty reception on the day and had to be led away by police from angry protesters. As The Guardian reported, protesters labelled Porter a “Tory too” due to a difference in opinion with the way demos and sit-ins have been organised around the country. Protesters were also said to have thrown eggs and oranges at NUS Vice President (Further Education), Shane Chowen, when he took to the podium. The BBC reported that protesters were looking for a “more militant leader” than Porter, leading to a division in the groups of protesters.
There were 16 arrests in Manchester, after a group of around 150 people broke away from the protest in an attempt to break into the University of Manchester Student’s Union resulting in scuffles between police and protesters.
The protest in London was reported by The Guardian as peaceful overall, with only a few people trying to break through police barriers in an attempt to get to Tory HQ, a target in previous protests, resulting in a handful of arrests.
There is due to be another protest taking place in London on Saturday 26 March. The NUS will be joining up with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to march from Victoria to Hyde Park.