Tuesday 30 November 2010

Day X2 - Students Protest In The Snow

This morning Chris Greenwood, the crime correspondent at the Press Association, tweeted that "the gods of public order have surely answered the Met's prayers as heavy snow falls in Westminster". Predictions, however, that the weather would dissuade students from protesting again today proved wildly inaccurate: the power of prayer is obviously as unreliable as ever.

In London at midday, hundreds of police poured from Horseguards Parade to cut off large numbers of demonstrators marching to Parliament Square, but instead of allowing themselves to be corralled inside a 'kettle' in Whitehall, protest tactics had changed. At 2pm, students avoided police lines and spread out around central London, leaving behind a small rally in Trafalgar Square. Trying to contain a peaceful but mobile and flexible protest was then apparently as difficult as herding cats - when the police attempted to corral students on Aldwych, they simply didn't have the numbers to contain the demonstrators.

It was only when students drifted back to Trafalgar Square that the police were able to return to their normal public order tactics, blocking every road around the Square to try and impose one very large kettle - but reports say it leaked like a sieve, with protesters adopting widely circulated advice on targeting the weak points in the police lines.

Around the country, there were large demonstrations in Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Brighton, whilst council offices were briefly occupied in Oxford and Birmingham. This evening, a small group of students remained inside a kettle in Whitehall, but Met Commissioner Paul Stephenson's claim that the "game has changed" has turned out to be more accurate than he realised - with young protesters rather than the police rewriting the rules.

Picture: Cillygrrl14


This is hilarious... Police chase protesters across London, set to Yakety Sax (the theme from 'Benny Hill').

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