Education & Family

Tuition fees protests: UK round-up

Students have been taking part in a day of action in protest at government plans to raise university tuition fees.

The demonstrations have taken place on the same day as MPs debate the proposals and other plans to cut university teaching budgets and support allowances for low-income further education students.

The House of Commons is expected to vote on the proposals before Christmas, which will decide whether tuition fees in England can rise to up to £9,000 per year.

The day of action on Tuesday has been dubbed "Day X2", following last week's UK-wide "Day X" and an earlier London march.

As well as demonstrations in central London, here are details of protests staged elsewhere:

Birmingham

About 50 people have occupied the council chamber after protesters stormed the city council main offices.

About 40 other students, who had occupied the offices' reception area, left to demonstrate outside.

There have been minor scuffles between protesters and police and security.

A city council spokesman said the demonstration in the council chamber was peaceful.

Sheffield

Students have demonstrated near Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's constituency office in Sheffield.

About 200 students marched from the University of Sheffield to the Nethergreen Road office, but were moved on by police because of the office's proximity to businesses and a children's nursery.

The demonstration was staged on a road 40m (130ft) from the office and limited to 100 protesters by police.

South Yorkshire Police Supt Martin Scothern said: "The planned protest site does not lend itself to large-scale assembly and immediately adjacent to the constituency offices are business premises and a children's nursery.

"This gives grounds for fearing that the rights of those not involved in protest would be disproportionately affected."

Student campaigners have criticised the Lib Dems over the coalition government proposals after the party pledged to oppose tuition fees in the general election campaign.

Bristol

Image caption Demonstrations began late-morning in Bristol

More than 2,000 people have joined a protest in Bristol, marching and lighting flares in the city centre.

There have been clashes with police, including officers on horseback.

Police contained demonstrators outside Senate House on the university campus.

Protester Kester Ratcliff said the demonstration had been mostly peaceful.

"I did see one person throw a stone and a few scuffles at the front but nothing much," he said.

"I think the police had a better strategy for dealing with the protesters, compared to last week. They seemed to be a lot more hands-off."

He added: "I live in Bristol and am applying to study veterinary science at the university here and Nottingham.

"If the fees go up someone like me would not be able to cope; as the course is full-on, I couldn't get a part-time job alongside such a practical course."

Demonstrators had assembled on College Green at 1100 GMT, before marching towards the Broadmead shopping area, on to the M32 and back to College Green.

An attempt by police to block the protesters in at College Green failed with students continuing their march.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said there had been one arrest for criminal damage.

Those present included students from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.

Leeds

University and college students have been joined by some school children in a march through the city centre.

About 500 people attended, according to a spokesman for the students' organisation Leeds University Against Cuts.

Image caption Some people felt threatened by police, protesters said

Protester Cleo Howard, who joined the demonstration at about 1100 GMT, said: "It was very upbeat and people were playing music - but the number of police outnumbered the students."

Officers later prevented marchers entering Victoria Gardens Square, she said, adding: "I don't know why as there was no reason I could see to stop us going in.

"A few students at the front felt very threatened."

West Yorkshire Police said officers had to react quickly to events because the protest had been staged "without any prior arrangement or cooperation with police".

"The vast majority of protesters remained peaceful throughout the course of events, although a significant minority were determined to disrupt businesses and citizens within the city centre," said Chief Supt Mark Milsom.

Up to 60 pupils walked out of Allerton Grange School in the north of the city in support of the action.

Marchers included some students who have been occupying a building at the University of Leeds since last week's protest against higher tuition fees.

Oxford

About 30 students entered Oxfordshire County Council's headquarters in the city, while dozens more outside and in nearby Bonn Square chanted and held placards.

Thames Valley Police, including mounted officers, later moved the protesters on.

Liverpool

About 400 students have protested in Liverpool.

A small number of students climbed on to the roof of an out-of-use footbridge on the University of Liverpool site. They later came down.

Another cluster of protesters clashed with mounted police.

There have been no injuries reported and one arrest has been made.

Manchester

More than a thousand students have joined a march through the centre of Manchester.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMore than a thousand students marched through the centre of Manchester

Students from the University of Manchester marched through the city centre to Cathedral Gardens.

A heavy police presence followed the demonstration.

Brighton

Hundreds of protesters have joined a march in Brighton to Hove Town Hall, where a candlelit vigil was due to be held.

Sussex Police said up to 600 people joined the largely peaceful protest, although some fireworks were set off and some cans and other missiles were thrown.

Supt Steve Whitton said it was also "disappointing" that some demonstrators had not stuck to the designated route.

After the gathering at the town hall, about 100 protesters climbed to the roof of a multi-storey car park and threw missiles, police said.

A breakaway group of up to 60 protesters was contained in one part of the city centre by officers.

Tim Pilcher, who allowed his 13-year-old daughter to join the protest, told the BBC: "This is her future and to have the opportunity of university taken away because it costs too much can only bring in an elitist society."

Edinburgh

About 300 students marched through the streets of the city as part of the UK-wide day of action.

Protesters gathered at Bristo Square before heading down the Royal Mile to a rally outside the Scottish Parliament.

Ledys Sanjuan, a 21-year-old international relations student at Edinburgh University, said: "We will not stand for cuts in education. We will also not accept any rises in tuition fees in England or Scotland.

"We do feel like we got our message across. People are angry."

The rally led to the temporary closure of the public entrance to the Parliament building, but a spokesman said: "Parliamentary business continued as normal and visitors were able to use a different entrance."

In Scotland, tuition fees were abolished in 2000, two years after their introduction by the UK government.

Belfast

Students staged a sit-in outside the vice-chancellor' s office at Queen's University Belfast.

About 50 protesters said they were seeking a meeting with the vice-chancellor, but the students' union said it was not supporting the protesters.

The sit-in ended later.