Student rioters were small minority

Grant Street,


Sir, Approximately 30,000 to 52,000 protesters took to the streets of central London to protest against higher tuition fees and education cuts.

I was one of them, travelling with a group from the UHI. Spirits were high as we set off peacefully in a legitimate and peaceful protest.

Sadly, near the end of the march, I saw a group, who by all appearances were from a different protest altogether, run with red and black flags to the Millbank building. One also had a banner that said "Remember the killing of Irish students" or words to that effect. I then saw some of the crowd join in with the minority of trouble-makers and move toward the building. I could no longer see as there were so many in front of me, but I heard smashing and shouting.

It was at this point a number of Scottish protestors began to shout "Shame, shame on you" at the rioters, and I, along with a few other younger UHI students, decided to press on and were encouraged by a steward.

We carried on until we reached an altogether more calm gathering. It is notable the rioting was started by infiltrators with flags, no doubt symbolising whatever brand of morality they were from.

Sadly the media coverage has mainly been of the rioters who were a very small minority of those present at the demo.

It also made me furious that some media made out it was all the Scots who rioted.

As far as I could see there was nothing to suggest they were Scots, and even if some were it doesn't mean they all were.

Further more, it is unfair that the media ignores that thousands of peaceful Scots (from as far north as Dingwall) came to march in solidarity with the English and Welsh. The whole point of the day was to make it clear that education should not be given major cuts, and hopefully that message was put across by the massive turnout.

At the end of the day I went to Evensong at Westminister Abbey and was touched by the minister praying for young people and students, lecturers and parents and for the police and MPs. On the way home I heard David Cameron on the radio say that he didn't mind peaceful protest as this is a democratic right, but he didn't approve of the rioters. I have to say I actually agree with him.

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." (A Quaker Proverb)

Yours etc.,

David Holdsworth.

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