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    Birmingham students occupy Council House chamber

    A group of 60 Birmingham students angry over proposed increases in tuition fees marched into Birmingham Council House this afternoon and occupied the Council chamber.

    The students are campaigning against a plan to eliminate the tuition cap of £3290 and allow universities to set their own tuition fees.

    "I'll be the first generation to pay £9000 a year and I'm appalled that this is even an issue because the Lib Dems promised us in the election that this wouldn't happen...so I feel betrayed," said protestor Lorna Cowley.

    The protest which was organized by the Education Action Network began during the lunch hour with approximately 100 demonstrators outside the Bullring.

    The group included a wide range of students, some as young as 14, as well as representatives showing support from the Public and Commercial Services Union.

    The group marched up New Street shouting the now familiar chant "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts" and headed for the Council House under limited police surveillance.  When they arrived they simply walked inside until police at the door barred entry to half the group.

    The students occupied the Council chamber and issued a list of demands which included the following:

    • the right to speak with the Councillor in charge of the education budget
    • the right to speak with the media
    • a demand that Birmingham Council openly oppose cuts to education
    • the halting of Connexions office closures
    • a demand that Council show solidarity for job action by refuse workers
    • access to toilets
    The Birmingham Council press office had no comment beyond confirming that there were 50 students occupying the chamber.

    The occupation ended after four hours when the students walked out of the Council House of their own volition.   They said they spoke with Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors but none of their substantive demands were met.

    However, protestor Zachary Kevans said it was still a success.

    "Some elected councillors came in and they said our demands were recognized and they were going to be put forward.  I know our message of solidarity with the refuse workers strike...got through.  So I think a lot has got done and it's going to build to a bigger protest," Kevans said.

    The demonstration was part of a series of protests today against tuition fee increases across the UK, including London, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds.

    Last week, University of Birmingham students occupied the Aston Building and demanded the resignation of Vice Chancellor David Eastwood.

    To watch a video of the demonstration check out our YouTube Channel.

    Posted by Birmingham Budget Cuts on 10:52 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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