Thousands of Merseyside students staged a collective 'walk out' today and marched through the city in protest over the coalition Government’s cuts to higher education funding and an increase in tuition fees.
Merseyside Police reported only a "small number of isolated incidents". At least one flare was set alight and a group staged a separate demonstration outside the Tory party headquarters in Hanover Street. A brief rooftop protest was also staged at the Liverpool Guild, with some interior damage caused.
A Facebook group to promote the event listed more than 4,000 students who said they would be taking part, though various sources estimated the crowd to be between 2,000 and 3,000. Merseyside Police say there were no reported injuries, but one 18-year-old man was arrested after an alleged egg-throwing incident.
Organisers insisted that this would be a peaceful protest after fears of a repeat of the demonstration in London two weeks ago, in which thousands of protesters vandalised Conservative Party headquarters at Millbank House. The National Union of Students claimed outside agitators hijacked their cause in London.
University course fees are expected to almost double from 2012; costing students at least £6,000 a year, though there is a possibility for them to rise to £9,000, a figure that some fear would cripple higher education in England. This increase is being seen as a cushion to soften the blow of a 40% decrease in Government funding for universities, as announced in last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
JMU Journalism reports from Liverpool
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