Voluntary Sector: Taking Action - The NUS vs the Government

Protesters: The NUS and associated groups
Target: The Government
Location: Across London
Date: 9 December

The Lowdown

Thousands of students, lecturers and school pupils protested in London against government plans to treble tuition fees at English universities. As the news came through that MPs had narrowly passed the bill, the demonstration became more heated, with fires lit in Parliament Square and attacks on The Treasury. The most headline-grabbing act was when activists smashed a window of the car carrying Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to the Royal Variety Performance.

Why the protests?

The protests took place as MPs gathered in Parliament to vote on the issue of student fees. Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the plans - which will see students charged up to £9,000 a year - are fair. The bill was passed with a majority of only 21, with 21 Liberal Democrats voting against the plans.

How did the Government respond?

Cameron condemned the violence as 'unacceptable'. 'It is shocking the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were caught up in the violence,' he said. Home Secretary Theresa May added: 'I condemn the increasing levels of violence and disorder some of the protesters have been, and still are, involved in.'

Media treatment

There has been blanket coverage. Specific angles included the attacks on the royal car and the police's 'kettling' of protesters.

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