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24 November 2010, 16:55
Hundreds of students have marched through Central Milton Keynes today (Wednesday) in protest against planned rises in university tuition fees.
Organised largely on Facebook, pupils walked out of schools and colleges across the new city, where they gathered at Campbell Park just before midday. Many of the protesters had made banners which carried slogans like "No ifs, not buts, no education cuts" and "Students say no to cuts".
At 12 o'clock the hundred strong crowd - led by 17-year-old Rhea Simpson, who was the driving force behind the demo - left the park and moved towards the City Centre.
En route they received support from drivers, pedestrians and cabbies. They walked through centre:mk, around Midsummer Place and ended up at Milton Keynes Council offices, where they continued with their chants of, "9k - no way" and "They say cut back, we say fight back".
Rhea Simpson - who was determined the Milton Keynes protest should be a peaceful one - told Heart:
"Education is becoming a privilege and students are being told not to have education because they want to, but to have education if they can afford it, or if they need it for a job. It's becoming a commodity and it's becoming a service rather than someone's dream."
Richard White - who's 18 and goes to Stantonbury Campus - admits money needs to be saved - but thinks the government should look elsewhere.
"Cuts need to be made somewhere, but education isn't the place for that to happen. It doesn't make sense economically when it's a high skills based economy - based on knowledge and higher education. Cutting education isn't going to help the economy in the long term."