he video: Demonstrations in London descended into violent chaos today after 50,000 students took to the streets to to protest higher university fees introduced as part of Britain's new austerity measures. At the headquarters of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party some marchers started fires, smashed windows, and even managed to gain access to the building's roof. Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, blamed the violence — at least eight people were injured — on "rogue protestors" and insisted the spirit of the rally was a peaceful one.
The reaction: "Don't mess with British college students," says Parmy Olson at Forbes. The numbers they're arguing over "wouldn't rattle American students" — the higher tuition cap is still only $14,000 a year — but it's way more than "the Brits are historically used to paying," and apparently they're prepared to fight. That's because we believe that "higher education doesn't simply belong to the rich," says Nina Power at The Guardian. These fee increases will only reinforce "Britain's appalling lack of social mobility and class division." This is only the first of the inevitable protests against the "Cameron government's austerity measures," says Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic. But I can't imagine this "vicious violence" will "help the students' case." Watch a video of the violent scenes here:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What would a U.S.-China war look like?
Subscribe to the Week