London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

Summary: Social media has been a major conduit to organising student protests in opposition to the UK government's plan to raise university tuition fees. One student leader explained how.

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London is currently on lockdown after student protests opposing the rise in university tuition fees became uncontrollable. Social media was and continues to be a significant conduit to organising student protests, scenes the UK has not seen since the 1970's.

MP's have voted by a narrow majority to triple tuition fees in England, with devolved governments in Scotland and Wales being given free or significantly reduced university education. Social media has been central in rallying student support to protest the change in tuition fees, with many arguing it will be more expensive than the US college system.

Student union leaders and protest organisers "are not condoning violence" and appealing for calm, after violence broke out caused by a tiny minority of breakaway protesters. But social media has been a key organisation feature in breaking away from the main protests in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square in Mumbai-style citizen reporting.

So far during this protest:

But as darkness fell on the capital city, police had been deployed in the hundreds after protesters stormed the streets of London and broke away from predetermined routes. Only a small number of militant protesters caused damage to the Treasury and Supreme Court, which is now being protected by riot police.

The protests prior to and including today were organised through Facebook groups; decentralised in nature from individual student union organisations at universities around the country, all working towards the same goal of peaceful demonstrations. Lauren Crowley, vice-president of Kent Union, explained how.

"Kent Union mobilised 500 students at the University of Kent to attend the #demo2010 on 10th November that was partly undertaken with face-to-face meetings with students, but mostly through the use of email lists, Facebook and Twitter. We had 700 students' sign a petition in just two days through Facebook and email, showing just what we can achieve by clever and target used of social networking."

Social media has played a major part in organising the directions of many protesters today. Above all, by following hashtags you can follow in diary-like updates the events in real-time on #fees and #dayx3, even if you are on the other side of the world without access to the live news channels.

Last year when I questioned how useful Twitter could have been in a terrorist attack like the London bombings with citizen journalism and community updates, a near exact real-life example has been demonstrated today with hotspots being broadcast on social media pages.

But as student union's are increasingly communicating with their representatives through the means of social media, this sets a prominent example to business leaders in how to communicate effectively with the younger Generation Y demographic.

Most student protesters today and prior to today's events have been 'kettled' - penned in by riot police to restrict movement, causing extreme anger and perpetuated violence upon their release. The Metropolitan Police are now appealing for third-parties with 'any exert of control' to try and dampen civil unrest as police resources become increasingly stretched.

The same violent protesters threw paint and rocks at the car carrying heir to the throne, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. A window was broken in a 'severe breach in Royal security' shortly before the car drove away with a police convoy without any injury to the Royal couple.

For now, there is no let-up in sight for the evening. As it nears nine-o'clock in the evening, students are still being kettled, restricted from movement, and violent disorder is still being caused by a small minority of violent extreme protesters piggybacking off the peaceful mentality of the vast majority.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • It is perhaps ironic that

    tuition fees are being trebled while the Brits are preparing for a Royal wedding reported to cost the economy $5 billion. I do not blame the students for being royally ticked off. Time to abolish the monarchy?
    Economister
    • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

      @Economister Nahh, they bring in well over ?20 billion to our economy every year in various bits and bobs. They're surprisingly efficient, actually.
      zwhittaker
      • Well, in that case....

        @zwhittaker

        maybe you should ALL become Royals, and nobody would have to work for a living. ;-)
        Economister
      • Mr. Zack is right about that one

        @zwhittaker ... I've been to the UK many times, and the preservation of the monarchy adds something to the country that is magical. In Vienna for instance, the buildings remain by the Habsburgs didn't. Looking at a real live set of royals and their guards and horses and so on means something.
        It's also a juicy reward that can be given to other governments whose conduct merits it - a visit from the Queen or one of the others matters.
        The Savile Row tailors display "royal warrants" in the window and on their labels. A royal warrant is merely an advertisement which says they supply goods and services to the royal family.
        All those airline tickets and hotel bookings they get, rental cars, all that revenue for the price of some facelifts and drink, and upkeep of historic buildings which would need to be kept up anyway.
        The royals also perform a very important function; separating the head of state from the head of government. Those who feel a need to worship authority can worship away,without having that interfere in the practical business of running a government. Witness Americas disfunction: we have to pay all this respect to somebody just because he's president, when he doesn't merit it from his actions.
        God save the Queen.
        HollywoodDog
      • That's Right....

        @zwhittaker
        If we started the country from scratch, no way would we choose a hereditary monarchy.
        But for all that, The Royals are good for business; all of the anti-Royal stuff - unelected and living in the lap of luxury as they are - is just jealousy.
        And it seems odd to think that having them there means anything at all, but there's a lot of history invested in continuing the line which can trace its way back past the Plantagenets.
        Look at the way our American friends are much more interested in our Royal family, than we are. Or the way that they like political dynasties like the Kennedys and Bushes - it's like they crave Royalty.
        steve_jonesuk@...
      • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

        @zwhittaker got to agree with HollywoodDog - try reading Heinlein's "Double Star" for a good description of how it works. Thatcher was bad enough as PM; can you imaging what the bloody woman would have been like as President? Blair was almost as bad, so there is a definite benefit in having someone (in social matters) who can put the PM in their place.
        Then there's Her Majesty's private landholdings, separate from what she has as the Monarch - the income from these goes to the state, in exchange for the Civil List. If she scrapped the current arrangement, and lived on her private income, she'd probably be substantially better off, even after income tax.
        philculmer
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    Seriously misleading. Next thing you know we'll start seeing "right to assemble rights are bad..."

    So a few idiots make a mess of things - arrest them for breaking the law.
    jessiethe3rd
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    No such thing as a peaceful protest , bring your pitch forks "All the Kings men "will.
    cybursoft
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    Plenty of stuff like this went on in the 1970s, the lack of an internet didn't hinder anyone.
    AndyPagin
    • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

      @AndyPagin But now that it is, it can reach much greater numbers, surely?
      zwhittaker
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    '...this sets a prominent example to business leaders in how to communicate effectively with the younger Generation Y demographic.'<br>Zack Whittaker sees this as a business opportunity. It's 'business' that caused this world crisis in the first place! Which side are you on?!
    pjher
    • You sound like you're part of the younger &quot;Y&quot; generation, because,

      you sound very clueless about what really caused the "world crisis".

      Now, would you care to explain to the rest of out here how "It's 'business' that caused this world crisis in the first place!"?
      adornoe
      • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

        @adornoe@... The sub-prime mortgage: lending money to people who couldn't pay it back and then selling their debt on to other companies: Hedge funds.
        pjher
      • pjher: You're pointing at an effect rather than the cause...

        <i>The sub-prime mortgage: lending money to people who couldn't pay it back and then selling their debt on to other companies: Hedge funds. </i>

        You previously mentioned that "business" was the cause of the "world crisis", but now, you're pointing at the effect or the offshoot of the crisis, which, wasn't started by "business".

        The sub-prime mortgage lending was not caused by businesses nor Wall-Street nor the banks nor the financial industry. The sub-prime mess was started back in the mid-70s by government intrusion into the mortgage and banking industry. Ever hear of the CRA? That started the whole snow-ball effect, and it's only in the last few years that the effects from those regulations started to be felt big-time. Though "industrious" people and companies did take advantage of the program to do things which can be labeled "crooked" and "devious" and 'harmful", those people would not have had the opportunity without the CRA in place.

        So, you are wrong about what "caused" the crisis. The initial spark to the fire wasn't from "business".
        adornoe
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    Hasn't seen since the 70's? Doesn 't that tell you something?
    twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
  • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

    As an Englishman with a daughter who wants to go to University I can't see what these students are actually protesting about. These people are supposed to be educationally clever, hmmmm, they make me wonder. <br><br>Lets put some meat on the bone of the dispute. Currently, students who go to University have to pay GBP3000 ($4500) UP FRONT per year to attend. This GBP3000 is 'borrowed' from the Government and has to be paid back as soon as the student starts a job that pays more than GBP15000 ($22500) per year. So, presently, a student with a 3 year degree course owes GBP9000, payable as soon as they start work.<br><br>The coalition Government has now voted to scrap that scheme and introduce the following one: Universities are now allowed to 'charge' UPTO GBP9000 ($13500) per year. So a 3 year course COULD incurr a maximum debt of GBP27000. BUT, these fees DO NOT have to be paid upfront. They are payable ONCE the student gets a job that earns more than GBP21000 ($31500) per year; anything less than GBP21000, NOTHING is paid back. Say the student gets a job that pays GBP22000 a year, ONLY GBP7 ($10.50) is payable per week (GBP364 per year). This debt is payable over 30 years. If at the end of the 30 year period the debt hasn't been paid off, anything outstanding is written off by the Government. <br><br>So, it doesn't sound to bad a deal to me.
    Euhemerus
    • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

      @Euhemerus

      But why should they have to pay anything? It's evidently in the best interests of the country (any country) to have a well educated work force, why discourage people by saying they may have up to 27k of debt by the time they graduate?

      The UK government has been a basket case as far as priorities on taxation and spending have been concerned for about thirty years.

      They're like the Microsoft of governments, they're not run that well but there's so much history and money behind them they manage to muddle through.

      My solution was emigration :-)
      OffsideInVancouver
      • Why should anybody have to pay anything for anything?

        If education in in the best interests of the country, and is an investment in the future, then, why not give everybody that wants to start a business, whatever money they need to get started. After all, all of it would be in the best interests of the country and an investment in the future of the country.

        While we're at it, let's make sure that "government" pays for all the needs of the people, including food and drinks and clothing and transportation, since, as we all know, it's for the best interests of the country and, of course, investments in the future.

        And, hey, if someone were to actually inquire about working for a living instead of depending upon "government" handouts, then by all means, the government should insist that, whatever free-enterprise businesses exist, must open up or create a position for all the people that might want to "work for a living". All of that would be, of course, in the best interests of the country.

        BTW, where does "government" get it's money or any of its resources?
        adornoe
      • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

        @OffsideInVancouver

        From your what you say, I'd hazard a guess that your English and emigrated to Canada. Nice move, I'd like to have done the same thing myself. I agree with your sentiments that education should be free. However, if through that education the student gets a very highly paid job 60K+ then I think it only fair that they should contribute towards that educational cost. IMHO the Government should have set the payback ceiling much higher to say 50K-60K instead of 21K.
        Euhemerus
      • RE: London on lockdown: How social media spurred student protests

        @OffsideInVancouver

        Why should they pay? Are you insane? You need to wake up.

        On a personal note...how comlicated is it to become a UK citizen? Over the course of my University education I have paid over $50,000 and still not done yet...

        Where do I sign up for this education give away!?
        colecrew