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The student resistance to cuts and fees continues with two national protests taking place in London and Manchester.

Two protests have taken place - both with significant backing from student bodies and trade unions. Video, images and reports as they come in.

Manchester

By Penny Hicks
3000 marched through Manchester on the national demonstration against cuts called by the NUS, UCU & PCS supported by the TUC. A rally in the student district was addressed by Trade Union leaders and trade union youth workers. Many trade union leaders were heckled and eventually several hundred people broke away from the rally to march into the city. They were met by police lines and some managed to break through to the city centre.

At the same time up to a hundred people were gathered in an anti cuts conference to form the Manchester Coalition against Cuts. SA marchers gathered in Manchester, the conference voted to end early to join the rally.

The conference hosted by Manchester Trades Council was opened by an FE student followed by speakers from Education Activist Network, Connexions, the NW TUC, BARAC ( Black Activists Rise up Against Cuts), Unison, Unite, community activists and many others. Manchester City Council Unite branch secretary, spoke about the fight to against 2000 job cuts and Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT galvanised us into building the 26 March.

London

By James Meadway

Students protested in London on Saturday against education cuts, including the scrapping of Education Maintenance Allowance and tuition fees hikes to £9,000 a year. Students from across London and the south marched as those from the north demonstrated in Manchester.

Backed by the lecturers’ University and College Union, with support from other trade unions, organisers estimate that 7,000 attended the first major education protest march since the demonstrations of late last year.

The passage of the tuition fees vote in Parliament, the winter break, and exams early in the New Year had raised questions about next steps for the movement. The National Union of Students backed the Manchester demonstration, with activist organisations the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and the Education Activists’ Network supporting the London march.

Setting off from the University of London Union, marchers chanted the familiar “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts”. Flares were lit outside Downing Street, while demonstrators stopped outside Topshop to demand the company, owned by billionaire Tory advisor Philip Green, pay its fair share of taxes.

Despite understandable fears amongst protestors, the police made no efforts to contain or kettle the demo. The Metropolitan Police have shifted their approach to student demonstrators over Christmas, attempting to co-operate with protest organisers.

Protestors set off for the Egyptian Embassy after the official demonstration, racing through west London streets to join the solidarity protests demanding the end of Mubarak’s regime. Thousands of students chanted and cheered alongside Egyptians living in London.

Next steps in the campaign across London are being discussed at the London Student Assembly, taking place from 3pm on Sunday 6th February at the University of London Union, Malet Street.

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