Student protests: Manchester sit-in demands to see university accounts

Group from London demonstrations take action demanding University of Manchester reveal how cuts will affect their studies
University of Manchester
Protesting students staged a sit-in at the University of Manchester. Photograph: Don Mcphee for the Guardian
Students have occupied a building at the University of Manchester and are demanding access to the institution's accounts to find out how cuts are likely affect their studies.

About 40 students entered the John Owens building around 1.45pm. They say they are negotiating with the university authorities.

Jeremy Buck, 22, a student communications officer who is with the students and is speaking on their behalf, said: "The group has decided they want to look at the financial forecasts of the university to see how the cuts will impact on students, staff and departments ... after yesterday's demonstration people felt strongly that we want the momentum to continue."
A student demonstration in London yesterday attracted more than 50,000 people – more than double the number expected by organisers or police. It ended with 50 arrests after about 200 students occupied the Conservative party's headquarters at Millbank in central London. At one stage a protester threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of the seven-storey building. A police leader has said the culprit should be charged with attempted murder.
Buck said the students involved in today's protests had not been involved in the violence at Millbank. They had decided to take action on the coach back from yesterday's demonstration.

"The National Union of Students had first predicted there would be 10,000, then 20,000, and we actually got more than 50,000 people," he said. "It was an amazing experience to see so many students and staff from around the country coming together to oppose what is planned for education and the students here just wanted to do something to continue the momentum."

The students held a meeting at 1pm and 45 minutes later between 40 and 50 people had occupied the corridors of the John Owens building.

"It has been entirely peaceful and no damage has been caused," said Buck. "The university has offered to meet three people to discuss our requests but the students feel that they are a group and want to meet as a group. We are in discussions about this now."
Other students have been prevented from joining the protest and Buck said it was unclear how long the sit-in would last.

Three police vehicles were called to the university at 3.30pm. Among the small group of protesters outside was second-year biology student Robyn Forsythe. He said: "There was a meeting and it was decided that we would occupy the finance office. It is a peaceful demonstration and they are demanding freedom of movement within the university."

The protesters inside could be seen through a stained glass arched window on the first floor.
Joanna Gilmore, a law lecturer and branch rep for the University and College Union, speaking in a personal capacity, said the demonstration was vital to defend education. There had been cuts at the university with staff taking voluntary redundancy, she said.

Student protests planned on a national scale on 24 November

Proposals drawn up for national day of direct action as head of lecturers' union at Goldsmiths, London praises students' actions
Student demonstation against higher tuition fees
Students, one dressed as Edward Scissorhands, demonstate against higher tuition fees and cuts in university funding in Westminster on Wednesday. Photograph: Tony Kyriacou / Rex Features
Emboldened by the numbers who took to the streets of London to campaign against the proposal to charge up to £9,000 a year in fees, students are planning a wave of direct-action protests across the country.

Protesters occupied a building at the University of Manchester today, demanding access to accounts to see how government spending cuts may affect students and staff.
Grassroots groups were drawing up plans for a national day of action in two weeks' time. Michael Chessum, the co-founder of the National Campaign Against the Cuts, predicted there would be widespread disruption as students staged sit-ins, occupations or walkouts at universities and colleges on 24 November.

"We went off script: the script that said a few thousand people would turn up, complain a bit, and go home; and the cuts would go through pretty much as planned," said Chessum, 21, a sabbatical officer at University College London. "That has changed. Now students really feel they can stop this."

A statement published by student leaders praised the storming of the building housing Conservative party headquarters by a fringe group of protesters on Wednesday. "We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, 'extremist' or unrepresentative of our movement. We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended."

The statement was signed by Clare Solomon, president of the University of London Union, Cameron Tait, president of Sussex University's student union and Lee Hall, author of Billy Elliot, among others. It puts local student representatives at odds with the NUS national leadership, which condemned Wednesday's violence.

The Millbank protesters were also praised by the president of the lecturers' union at Goldsmiths, London, who said their actions had brought attention to the cause. John Wadsworth said: "Yesterday was a really good natured but equally angry demonstration against the damage that the coalition is doing to higher education.

"The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased and if massive reductions in HE funding are implemented."

The NUS plans to campaign locally against Lib Dem MPs, reminding them of their pre-election pledge to vote against a rise in tuition fees that will apply in English universities. NUS president Aaron Porter said: "Its an issue of principle. Clegg talked about no more broken promises – they made a promise, and we will hold them to it." The union plans to raise petitions in constituencies with high numbers of student voters, warning MPs that they face losing their seat if they break their word on fees.

A number of Lib Dem MPs plan to vote against the proposal, due to be presented to parliament before Christmas. The 20 Lib Dem ministers, including Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and the business secretary, Vince Cable, are expected to vote in favour. The resolution must be passed by both houses but cannot be amended. Clegg today admitted he should not have signed the NUS pledge on fees, blaming the state of public finances for the party's U-turn.

"I should have been more careful perhaps in signing that pledge," he said. "At the time I really thought we could do it. I just didn't know, of course, before we came into government, quite what the state of the finances were."

Writing in the Guardian today, Lib Dem MP Tim Farron describes fees as "the poll tax of our generation". He writes: "It is not for me to tell colleagues how to vote, but I believe that we need to move away from burdening young people with debt, towards a fairer system. Education should be available to all – not just those who can stomach the debt."
Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt said the party was "stuck between a rock and a hard place". She added: "This is not our policy. We are not comfortable with it. In the coalition agreement we didn't manage to get our own policy but we have modified the Browne report [on higher education funding] to inject a considerable amount of fairness and progressiveness into the programme."

Lib Dem opponents of a rise have not coalesced around an alternative policy. Martin Horwood, who plans either to abstain or vote against, said: "The long-term alternative is really to pay for student finance through income tax and probably an inevitable reduction in student numbers, neither popular options with our Conservative partners. So short term, I fear the alternative would be cuts in other areas like science or FE, which is why I'm hesitating to vote against."

Student protests today included a three-hour sit-in by 60 students at Manchester, demanding access to the university's accounts. "This is just what a few students who had the energy left after the London demo managed to achieve," said Jeremy Buck, 22.
In Cambridge, students protested at the university's annual science, engineering and technology careers fair against "the marketisation of education".

卡麥隆:G20要加把勁 解決貿易失衡問題









面對如此局面,英國政府除了採取“節流”措施外,當然還要“開源”,也就是要增加賺錢門路。在此情況下,卡梅倫政府把目光轉向金融危機中仍保持經濟快速增長、且已躍居全球第二大經濟體的中國,實在是順理成章。就在卡梅倫訪華前夕,中國國家主席胡錦濤對法國進行了一次國事訪問,訪問期間,中法簽署了約200 億美元的經貿合作協議。這樣的業績,不可能不讓英國人眼熱。11月4日,英國駐華大使吳思田在京對媒體表示,希望卡梅倫的此次中國之行能和中國簽訂一些商業大單。可以肯定的是,卡梅倫帶來的是一支商業團隊,帶走的將是一筆筆商業大單。































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