Though largely neglected by US mainstream media, British students have been putting up quite a display of defiance in the face of rising tuition costs and government restrictions on university financial aid.
In recent weeks students have protested against the austerity measures by staging mostly peaceful gatherings, apart from the rowdy crowd of 50,000 that smashed up the conservative party’s London headquarters earlier this month.
Responding to calls for revolt, police have adopted advanced crowd control tactics for methodically cordoning off groups of demonstrators and arresting them. While these tactics have proven effective from their standpoint, it would appear London officers have begun resorting to even more extreme measures.
In a protest staged Wednesday night, horse-back police were accused of running at a crowd of students “like a cavalry charge,” according to one witness who spoke with The Guardian. Police adamantly denied the allegation.
Thursday night, a video landed on YouTube showing police doing exactly what had been alleged.
“When the horses charged I was fairly near the front of the demo, where we were very tightly packed in, and found myself very quickly on the floor where I assumed the foetal position and covered my head while people simply ran over me,” one of the protesters told The Guardian. “Thankfully another protester picked me up before I could suffer any serious damage.”
The paper also carried exclusive video of Wednesday’s protest.
Watch the video that contradicts police statements:
While the elected coalition government has largely condemned the demonstrations, Labor party leader Edward Miliband declared that he was tempted to join the protesters, calling their anger “justified.”
Miliband, who is largely expected to become Britain’s next prime minister if Labor makes expected gains in the next round of elections, also revealed in a recent radio interview that he considers himself a “socialist” and is not ashamed to state his beliefs.
“[There] are big unfairnesses in our society, and part of the job of government is to bring about social justice and to tackle those unfairnesses,” he said. “And that’s why I’m a politician, that’s why I’m in politics.”
This video, of British students smashing the Tory Party’s London headquarters on Nov. 10, was published to YouTube by Russia Today.