Antifa flag flies from the top of the Tories’ headquarter building
Protesters smash into Tory HQ and storm the roof as anti-cuts rioters hijack tuition fees march
Students went on the rampage today as a huge protest against the coalition’s controversial move to hike tuition fees turned violent.
Around 52,000 students and teachers travelled to London for a march and rally in Westminster against the Government’s plans to raise fees from £3,290-a-year to up to £9,000.
Scotland Yard appeared to have been caught on the hop as the peaceful protest descended into riots this afternoon when many left the planned route and headed to Tory party headquarters.
A police spokesman confirmed tonight 32 people had been arrested for a range of offences, including criminal damage and trespass, and were now in custody at stations across central London.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the force should have anticipated the level of violence ‘better’, adding: ‘It’s not acceptable. It’s an embarrassment for London and to us and we have to do something about that.
just do think that we cannot accept that level of behaviour. I think we’ve also got to ask ourselves some questions. This level of violence was largely unexpected and what lessons can we learn for the future. We are already doing that and asking those questions.
‘Certainly I am determined to have a thorough investigation into this matter.’
Asked why police did not manage to keep law and order, he said: ‘It must have been an awful time for those people trying to go about their daily business within those buildings.
‘I feel terribly sorry that they have had to go through what must have been quite a traumatic experience. We are determined that does not happen again. That’s unacceptable to us.
‘We want to send a very clear message to people demonstrating, to say ‘fine come to the streets of London if you feel you need to peacefully demonstrate, but we cannot allow thuggish behaviour like that’.’
He went on: ‘I think the scenes that we have seen today both inside and outside Millbank are wholly unacceptable, disgraceful behaviour.
‘It’s just thuggish, loutish behaviour by criminals and we need to ensure that we have a thorough investigation to bring these criminals to account.
‘We didn’t expect this level of violence. There was a lot of work done with the students themselves before this demonstration and there is no real history of that level of violence.’
A controlled release of students from the building in Millbank and the famous Millbank Tower next door was underway tonight, with a thick line of riot police surrounding the area.