Edinburgh students protest at Scottish Parliament on St Andrew's Day, over UK Government cuts, despite the winter weather. Edinburgh, Scotland. UK. 30/11/2010.
The Scottish Parliament has been the focus of a second day of student protest in Edinburgh on St Andrew’s Day. against government cuts affecting education spending.
Thick snow did not deter around 200 protesters, who marched from Edinburgh University to the Holyrood Parliament, opposite the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Some 30 – 40 centimetres of snow have fallen in the City over the last few days.
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was rumoured to be in Edinburgh, and students later briefly breached a police cordon at the Dynamic Earth Exhibition building near the Parliament, which Mr Clegg was thought to be visiting at some point in the day. There was a strong police presence at the Scottish Parliament itself, and no real trouble.
Protests were in the main good-natured, with both buildings being pelted with snowballs towards the end of the demonstrations. Some were directed at police officers, but were taken in good spirit. This was in marked contrast to the scenes of violence in the course of student protests in London.
Students have been directing much of their anger at Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrat Party, for reneging on a pre-election pledge to oppose any increase in tuition fees. As a result of coalition government proposals, students in England and Wales face the prospect of a tripling of fees to £9000 a year.
Scottish students studying south of the border will also be affected, and there is more general concern over the impact of UK-wide cuts on education in Scotland.
The marchers were addressed by several speakers in the portico of the Parliament, including Green Party MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) Patrick Harvie.
The march followed on from a similar one in Edinburgh last week, targeting the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ HQ. In a further protest a group of students has been occupying the Appleton Tower at Edinburgh University since then. Up to 200 students have taken part in the occupation at some time over the week, with a group of around 40 in occupation each night.