11 Arrested During Student Protest

11 people have been arrested as violence broke out during a student protest in central London.

Thousands marched through the streets to Parliament yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 19th November) in protest over tuition fees, debts and spending cuts

The protest was largely peaceful but police made at least 11 arrests after a minority group of anti-austerity campaigners became more hostile and flooded the streets around Parliament Square, some lighting flares.

A man and a woman were held when demonstrators charged the headquarters of the nearby Tory party headquarters, trying to push a large wheelie bin through barriers.

Officers pushed them away before having to hold back a large crowd as people tried to force their way in.

Scuffles also broke out when protesters, many wearing black balaclavas and hoods, tore down metal railings and pulled aside barriers as they stormed on to Parliament Square.

Hundreds of officers were brought in to police the event.

Riot officers were called to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills after demonstrators hurled orange paint over the entrance to the building and filled Victoria Street, not far from Westminster Abbey.

Customers were also left trapped inside a Starbucks Coffee shop and guarded by a police cordon after eggs and white paint were thrown over the front window and protesters shouted abuse over the company's alleged tax affairs.

Some officers were themselves left covered in paint and had flower pots thrown at them.

Outside New Scotland Yard, a large group held a sit-down demonstration. As police looked on they chanted abuse at the police and shouted "Tory, Tory, Tory, scum, scum scum."

Hannah Stewart, 20, a fine art student at Central Saint Martins college, said: "I'm here because three quarters of students cannot pay their debts off. We have no alternative and there is no choice. Voting hasn't worked, but we have things that work - arts, literature, petitions and protesting."

The Metropolitan Police later said there were 11 arrests, for offences including assaulting police, affray, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon, and violent disorder.

Three officers were also injured as protesters stormed Parliament Square, though not seriously.

The demonstration - which was not backed by the National Union of Students (NUS) - began peacefully, with thousands of students from across the UK descending on the capital to plead with politicians to end the "chain" of high tuition fees and student debt.

The army of student activists, led by the organisation Student Assembly Against Austerity, gathered outside the University of London near Euston before marching towards Whitehall.

Hundreds carried placards and banners protesting against high fees, chanting "When they say cut back, we say fight back", and "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts".