Jarvis Cocker and Miss England join the protests against £9,000 a year tuition fees
STUDENTS and lecturers aim to turn their campaign against tuition fees into a 'Carnival of Resistance' as they march on Trafalgar Square and many other venues across the UK today.
With sound systems, samba bands, comedians, poets, Jarvis Cocker and even Miss England on board, the idea is to "crank up the creative pressure on the government to make sure they don't smash up our education," as the campaign poster puts it.
"We're there to build a movement which can overcome the divisions between the different people, between the different sections of society and actually start to generalise the fight against austerity," said Mark Bergfeld of the Education Activist Network, one of the groups behind the demos.
However, the Metropolitan Police are taking no chances and plan to put 'snatch-squads' on the streets in an effort to grab people they suspect are out to cause trouble.
In charge of the police operation today is Bob Broadhurst. He was the man who ran the Met's infamous response to the G20 protests last year in which one person died and tens of thousands were imprisoned for hours by a tactic known as 'kettling'.
"We will not tolerate criminal activity, violence and disorder," said Broadhurst ahead of today's action.
But one person's "criminal activity" is another's legitimate protest and already there have been dozens of occupations of universities, colleges and schools, with students, lecturers and parents determined not to let the government get away with increasing yearly university fees to £9,000.
"Everyone should be entitled to an education, but too few people will be able to afford one at £9,000 a year," said Miss England, Jessica Linley.
"I certainly wouldn't be able to study at university with the increased fees."