‘STUDENTS and lecturers must go out on strike, in fact, I am for an all-out strike, to ensure education is free,’ said Dalia Giuaballa, a UEL (University of East London) student on the 5,000-strong march to end all university fees and bring back student grants yesterday.
Students from universities all over the country assembled at Malet Street outside University London Union and marched past parliament to the Tory Department of Business and Education. What do we want? Free Education! When do we want it? Now!’ rang out through the streets of central London.
The Young Socialists Students Society had their own banner and shouted: ‘No Cuts, No Closures. Kick this government Out!’ Hundreds of students joined in their chants, which also included: ”Lecturers and Students Unite! One Struggle, One Strike!’ and ‘Rent Hike – Rent Strike!’.
Dalia added: ‘Free education is a right for young people. You can’t ask them to get into debt for the rest of their lives. Education is very important. You have to make it easy for students. As an international student I have to pay £12,000 a year. They are turning education into a business. All workers have children that they want to see educated. Everyone must support the students, that’s why I’m for an all-out strike to make education free and kick this government out.’
George Martin, from London College of Communication, said: ‘I’m a journalist studying at LCC and I’m from France. In France we just pay an administration fee of 200 euros. Here in Britain I have to pay £10,000 a year. Education is a basic right, it makes everyone equal, that’s why it must be free. Revolution is in my genes because I am French and I agree with socialist ideas.’
Stelios Mavrotas, a UCL student, said: ‘I agree with free education, I don’t want to pay the £9,000 fee. In Greece university is free, the Greek economy is not doing well at all, but they don’t ask the students for money. We think university must be free for everyone. I would like to see a revolution and to take this system down.’
Joe Day, a Queen Mary’s student, said: ‘Lecturers and students must unite with joint strike action that will be very productive and build a strong community. No one’s life is improving under the Conservatives. Every public sector worker affected by austerity should join in.’
Anna Pichierr said: ‘On my banner it says Freedom to Move, Freedom to Study, Freedom to Live. We have a big banner on the march demanding Open the Borders, Let Refugees and Immigrants In.
‘As soon as students are finished, Tory Home Secretary Theresa May is saying send them back.
‘We have zero tolerance for racism. Refugees and immigrants are defiant, they are marching across Europe, tearing down fences, defying national borders. These are people who are leading the struggle for equality, dignity and freedom.’