The demonstration was organized by the Student Assembly Against Austerity, NCAFC and Young Greens, and called for an end to education cuts, the scrapping of tuition fees and an end to student debt.
Alongside a strong message for free education, the demonstration also carried a prominent ‘fund education not war’ message with a ‘Books Not Bombs’ bloc and challenged racist scapegoating of immigrants, Muslims and Black communities.
The demonstration ended with a brilliant rally outside of Parliament where we were joined by Diane Abbott MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Caroline Lucas MP, representatives from the Green Party, Kate Hudson from CND, the People's Assembly Against Austerity Stop the War, Stand Up to Racism and a number of prominent student leaders - including Shelly Asquith (President SUArts), Shreya Paudel (NUS International Students' Officer), Zekarias Neggussue (NUS Black Students' Campaign), Shakira Martin (LeSoCo President) and Michael Segalov (Sussex Uni Students' Union Officer) - who all played a critical role in making the demo big, vibrant and successful. Check out the Student Assembly Against Austerity’s youtube channel to watch the speeches.
There we are few arrests made on the day, but positively everyone has been released without charge and overall the day was very peaceful despite some police repression.
When the student movement unites and fights back we can win. The Student Assembly Against Austerity proved that earlier this year. Our campaign to stop the government privatising student loans mobilised thousands of students on more than 50 campuses in our national days and weeks of action which succeeded in forcing a government u-turn. Proving once more that campaigning works.
Yesterday’s national demo for free education marks the beginning of the broad and powerful movement required to win free education. The next step in the campaign will be a national day of action on Wednesday 3 December, where the Student Assembly Against Austerity will be coordinating actions alongside the People’s Assembly on the day that George Osborne’s announces more cuts in his ‘Autumn Statement’ to Parliament.
1. National Day of Action Against the Autumn Statement on Weds 3 December – organise something on your campus for the day of action. Check out the facebook event here.
2. Come along to the Student Assembly Against Austerity National Convention on Saturday 31 January at SOAS. Join us for a day of discussion, debate and action planning on the next steps in building a student movement that takes on austerity. Speakers include Piers Telemacque (NUS Vice President), Shelly Asquith (President of SUArts), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Francesca Martinez (comedian), Natalie Bennett (leader of the Green Party) and Lindsey German (Stop the War). Click here for more details.
3. Set up a Student Assembly Against Austerity society on your campus – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help in setting one up.
Round up of the massive media coverage on the day
We were delighted that our message for free education and against tuition fees, education cuts and student debt got a huge amount of media coverage. Below we share a selection of media reports of our national demo:
Liveblog from Student Assembly Against Austerity - with photos, videos and reports as from the march.
Guardian letter - appeared in the printed edition, signed by dozens of student activists involved in making the free education demo a success.
Guardian Live Blog.
The Huffington Post.
Huffington Post Students.
The Huffington Post Liveblog.
East London Lines.
LBC ‘Best Placards of the Demo’.