British students in third day of protest against gov't education policies

09:58, December 01, 2010      

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British students and schoolchildren on Tuesday took to the streets despite cold temperatures and snow in marches and rallies across the country to protest against the coalition government's education policies.

In London, up to 3,000 students and schoolchildren braved the cold and snow falls to rally in Trafalgar Square. Xinhua reporters saw the protest march begin at least 15 minutes early and without any of the half dozen or more speeches from protest leaders, and supporting lawmakers (members of parliament).

A crowd of 2,000 began to walk down Whitehall, catching police by surprise. A hundred or so police officers quickly entered Whitehall from side streets where their vans were parked and formed a line across the 30-meter wide street.

As the line formed, protesters got to within 5 meters of it and then turned and ran away. The protest then broke up, with protesters in small and large groups roaming across the government district, into the shopping district, and even towards the financial district in the City.

London's police force, the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement: "The Met police worked with organizers in advance to agree a suitable route from Trafalgar Square down to Parliament Square for a peaceful protest.

"However, today's march set off at an earlier time than agreed. This meant that the march began without a police escort. As a result, a line of police officers formed a cordon across Whitehall. This line of police officers intended to steer the march to one side of the road and the agreed route. There was never any intention to contain the protesters."

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