london student protests
Police officer jailed for eight months for assaulting student at London protest
PC Andrew Ott had been found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm for knocking William Horner’s tooth out in 2010

A police officer who knocked part of a man’s tooth out with his riot shield during a student protest in 2010 has been sentenced to eight months in prison.

PC Andrew Ott, 36, struck William Horner as the Royal Holloway student tried to break free from a kettled area on Parliament Square in central London.

Ott was found guilty on Tuesday of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but cleared of perverting the course of justice.

At Southwark crown court on Wednesday, Ott sobbed in the dock as he was sentenced.

The judge Jeffrey Pegden told him he had carried out “gratuitous and unnecessary violence” and abused his power as a police officer.

He said: “This offence was committed in a sterile area, in relative darkness, when you had the victim cornered and no violence was necessary at all. An extremely serious aggravating factor is your abuse of power as a police officer.

“You hit him with a full-force blow to his face with your shield. That was wholly gratuitous, unnecessary violence, and I have considered the stress on William Horner over the last few years.”

Sobbing in the dock, bless him.


10,000 students protest tuition fees, skyrocketing debt in London
November 19, 2014

A student protest that attracted thousands of people on to the streets of London has ended with a series of scuffles and accusations of police violence.

Organisers said the demonstration against tuition fees and wider cuts to education was the biggest mobilisation of students since 2010 when demonstrators occupied Tory party offices at Millbank.

Wednesday’s protest saw the National Union of Students (NUS) headquarters in London daubed with paint after it decided not to back the demonstration due to “an unacceptable level of risk” to its members. That provoked anger among those who took part in the march. “We did not organise what happened at the NUS but we do know students are very angry about being let down by the NUS,” said Beth Redmond from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, one of the groups that organised the demonstration. “When you see the numbers here today, they are in danger of becoming an irrelevance.”

Organisers claimed that up to 10,000 protesters took part in the march with university students joining those from further education colleges and sixth forms.

The protest passed off peacefully until demonstrators arrived at Parliament Square. A breakaway group of several hundred, including many who were wearing masks, pulled down fences blocking off the square, provoking minor scuffles with the police.

They then occupied the area in front of parliament as the main body of the march continued to the final rally point.

For the next two hours smaller groups of a few hundred protesters played cat and mouse with police, staging impromptu protests outside government departments, high street chains accused of not paying their tax and Conservative party headquarters, where at least one arrest was made.

Police officers tried to keep up with the fluid groups of demonstrators as they wound their way through backstreets between Westminster and Victoria. Paint bombs were thrown at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and a nearby Starbucks. Later police “snatch squads” picked out people in the crowd and made several arrests, provoking an angry reaction from the crowd.

At one point a protester was wrestled to the ground and dragged away. His friends said he was a Turkish Kurdish student in his late 20s studying at Birkbeck University.

“He was just walking outside John Lewis and they attacked him,” said a fellow student who did not want to be named. “He hadn’t done anything. We were just here to protest … It was really violent and he looked like he was unconscious for a while.”

The Metropolitan police said three officers had suffered minor injuries and 11 arrests were made.

“Various missiles were thrown at the officers and protesters pulled down protective fencing around the grass area in Parliament Square,” the force said in a statement.

Students from as far afield as Glasgow and Cornwall travelled to London for the demonstration, which organisers hope will kickstart a wider campaign in favour of free education.

Jacob Furedi, a student at University College London, said: “We’re marching for free education. We think it’s unreasonable to pay for something which is a right. The atmosphere is buzzing. I’ve been speaking to people from Aberdeen and Stirling – it’s not just London students but students from all around the UK.”

Aaron Kiely, from the Student Assembly Against Austerity and a member of the NUS national executive, said their message was very simple: a return to free education and an alternative to tuition fees.

He added: “We want to end the lifetime of debt which is a massive burden for students.

“Students are really angry because we go to university and then at the end of it we get an average of £40,000-worth of debt. That puts you in a hell of a difficult position when you start to think about a mortgage and a family. We need an alternative.”

Student organisers said the protest marked the start of a wave of action that will run up to next year’s general election.

Deborah Hermanns, from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, said organisers were delighted with the scale of Wednesday’s demonstration. “I really do think today was the start of a wider movement calling for free education rather than against something. There were lots of people here on their first demonstration and I think they were inspired and will be back.”


Protestors with smoke canisters demonstrate against tuition fees in central London, on November 4th 2015. Students are marching to demand free university education for all. Fees for university students in England were introduced in 1998, and the maximum allowable charge was trebled by the previous coalition government to £9,000 ($13,000) per year. Credit: AFP/Jack Taylor


March 17 2016 - Hundreds of UCL students marched in London in support of the student rent strike. The protesters occupied Euston junction at rush hour and burned an effigy of UCL Vice-Provost, Rex Knight. 

Rents have soared for student housing in London, making it so that only students from wealthy families can study there. [video]/[article]