Monday, 29 November 2010

November 30th - 2nd Day of Education Action in Manchester

For full article in The Mule go to:

A call to action on Tuesday November 30 has been launched by university and college students as the struggle against tuition fees and cuts to education builds.
  • Walkouts in Manchester are planned at 11am for college and school students and at midday for university students.
  • Picket lines will be manned from 8am outside colleges and schools and from 9am across university campuses.
  • The assembly points are All Saint’s Park (opposite MMUnion) and Manchester University Place at 12 noon.

Prior to the day of action there will be an emergency activist meeting at Manchester Metropolitan University Students’ Union on Monday 29 November at 5pm. It will be held in the social space on the 2nd floor and is open to all.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Student Occupation at the University of Manchester

The following is adapted from a press release from the student occupation at the University of Manchester. For further info go to

The student occupation of the Roscoe Building at the University of Manchester is to continue into next week. Activists are using the occupation as a focus for drumming up further support on the Manchester campus as well as in local colleges.

Meetings have been held in the occupied building with several guest speakers addressing a packed lecture theatre, containing University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and University of Salford students as well as students from various colleges around the region, union
representatives, parents, lecturers, political activists and more.

The occupiers have resolved:
  • to hold a meeting at noon in the occupied theatre on Monday.
  • to remain in occupation for the duration of the weekend, despite being told by the university that we’d be locked in.
  • to hold a rally on Tuesday as part of the national protest day, outside University Place.
  • to send a delegation down to London for the national coordination meeting on Sunday. The delegates are to stay with the University College London occupation on Saturday night.
The occupiers have made clear their dissatisfaction with the university’s decision to close the Roscoe Building through the weekend. The management committee are not allowing access to the building for food deliveries or water deliveries, as well as turning the heating off for the weekend. This as a clear attempt to starve the occupiers out of the building and evict them through force, which is an unacceptable response to a peaceful protest.

Manchester School Students Prevented from Joining Novemeber 24th Demo

A number of secondary schools in Manchester went to great lengths to stop students leaving schools to join the student anti-cuts demo last Wednesday. This is not a new development. At the time of the anti-Gulf War demos, one school with a high percentage of muslin students actually locked students in breaching just about every health and safety law and regulation. This time, it seems, a number of schools called in the police to prevent students leaving.

At one large secondary school in south Manchester, a well organised campaign had resulted in a large proportion of students intending to walk out of school at 12 noon in order to join the demo. However, when they attempted to leave by the main gate, they were met by staff who prevented them from leaving. Not to be deterred, a number managed to “escape” by other exits. However, when they got to nearby bus stops they were met by “pupil support managers” and police who escorted them back to school.

November 24th Student Demo in Manchester

Well over 1,000 students took part in the anti-cuts demo in Manchester last Wednesday. A sizable minority were secondary students. The demo largely passed off peacefully despite the best efforts of the police who were intent on provoking the demonstrators. At one point the police snatched a student for dancing because they weren’t happy about it and threatened to arrest him unless he stopped!!

As the demo reached the centre of Manchester an attempt was made to “kettle” the demonstration but many people had the good sense to disperse in order to get through the police lines. The demo was then able to reform and carry on. Towards the end of the demo a major road through the centre of the university area was blocked. The police surrounded the demonstration with horses in an attempt to clear the road.

The road was cleared as the demo broke up. However, groups of students attempted to occupy various building around the university. Plans had obviously been made to stop buildings being occupied but with so many buildings being attempted to be occupied at the same time the plans didn’t work and a number of buildings were occupied.

The demonstration ending with occupations made a pleasant change to having to listen to endless boring speeches by politicians and would-be politicians in love with the sound of their own voices.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Student protests: Solfed member reports

This report  was first published on the national Solidarity Federation site.

Initial reports and images from Liverpool London, Brighton and elsewhere on today's events, where Solidarity Federation has a presence for the student anti-fees protests:


Initial estimates suggested a turnout of thousands who brought Lime Street to a standstill, with a fast moving march featuring an attempted sit-down in Castle Street.
While most commenters are agreeing that the protest has been peaceful, police brought out dogs and horses and there have been complaints of "intimidating behaviour." The march was largely halted as of 1pm but quickly got moving again and reached the town hall at around 1.30pm. Hundreds of people filled all levels of the Liverpool One shopping centre, and the protest broke up at around 2.30pm.
The first reported property damage was to buses caught in the moving crowds, one quote had the drivers as "amused and supportive."
The main incident saw students occupy the Guild (Liverpool's Student Union) after the march had broken up, in an interesting twist on the story of over a dozen occupations at universities across the country - apparently many students have remained unimpressed with the performance of the likes of Aaron Porter "representing" them at the NUS.


Thousands more turned out for a march through the centre of the city which commentators initially described as "noisy but peaceful" - however as protesters swirled around Whitehall our members at the march were warning that the police seemed to be preparing a kettle, the tactic used by the Met to restrict and kill off protests by creating a cordon which gradually tightens around the crowd. Police successfully set the kettle up at around mid-day with only cursory attempts being made to break out of it.
Despite breathless reporting of a police van being rocked this was unrepresentative of the rest of the march, and our source said it was later left alone "for precisely that reason." Generally, although pictures have emerged of minor scuffles, there seems to have been very little fighting and as the march wound down there were reports of 15 arrests and eight injuries. Anarchists were still fingered for whatever violence did happen however (what busy bees we seem to be in the minds of the media).
With 800 officers drafted in for the day, police tactics seem to have returned to the G20 style which has become Met tradition in recent years.


The city saw an energetic march converging on Dyke Road Park, from age 12/13 up. Numbers were difficult to estimate, but final police figures for the day indicated around 3,000 turned out. One noted at 3.30pm: "Speeches were largely ignored, and over half the crowd has broken away on an unauthorised march. Cops are heavily outnumbered." As it ended many converged on the town hall, where police pushed the crowd back as it attempted to storm the building. Subsequently a Vodafone store was briefly occupied and a Poundland store was looted before around 400 students attempted to storm the central police station before being repelled by lines of riot police. An occupation of Brighton University survived attempts by riot police to evict it, and remains overnight.

Friday, 12 November 2010

What is SolFed? Public Meeting...

We are holding a public meeting next Monday, 15 November, to introduce interested people to the Solidarity Federation.

We've seen a recent upsurge of interest in Manchester recently. People are angry and restless about the cuts. The student demonstration on Wednesday shows people are not going to sit back and let the government trample all over them.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm at the Town Hall Tavern in central Manchester and is open to all. We will be in the upstairs function room.

We will start with a short introduction to the Solidarity Federation, followed by questions, answers, discussion, etc.

The Town Hall Tavern is on Tib Street, off Cross Street, near to Albert Square and the Town Hall. See the map here.

Members of SolFed will be in the pub from around 7pm.