The 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
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
Subscribe to the Week