Shut down London-student anti-tuition fee increase demonstration 9/12/2010
Police repeatedly charge forward to break apart lines of crush barriers formed by protesters across the width of Whitehall to slow the advance of mounted police.
Over 20,000 students marched through London in protest on the day Parliament was due to vote on the increase in student University tuition fees. When the march reached Trafalgar Square, many protesters, finding Whitehall blocked by police, moved towards Parliament square via The Mall and Horse Guards. Lines of police behind crush barriers blocked access to Parliament.
Protesters brushed aside a weak line of police and then started to try and unsuccessfully break through the lines of police in front of Parliament. Parliament Green was occupied with the temporary fencing surrounding it being broken down, and used to attack police, or defend protesters against police. Fighting between police and protesters continued during the afternoon particularly, including mounted police charges, on Broad Sanctuary.
At about 5pm, the kettle on the north side of Whitehall was broken by protesters, with further lines of police, both mounted and on foot having to move the length of Whitehall to re-establish the kettle.
With the news, in the early evening, that the vote had been passed, there was an immediate increase in anger amongst the protesters. The Treasury in particular was attacked, with riot police being stationed inside the building.
Lines of riot police using round and long shields eventually cleared Parliament Square. Over 1000 students were held in a kettle on Westminster Bridge until nearly midnight.
There were reports, many unsubstantiated as yet, of police attacking peaceful protesters trying to leave the kettle. Student Alfie Meadows was hit on the head by a truncheon, and had to have an emergency, life saving, operation to treat an intracranial bleed.
Smaller groups of protesters roamed streets nearby with shops, including Topshop in Oxford Street being attacked as well as a car containing Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Gangs and black block protesters from several mainland European countries attended the protest. The violence on the protesters side, even after the news of the vote result, was perpetrated by a minority. The majority of students were sitting around waiting to exit the kettle, trying to keep warm, or dancing to music.