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The first demonstration in protest at the government’s proposed changes to tuition fees was held on 10 November 2010 in central London, where approximately 30,000 to 52,000 protesters gathered to oppose government plans to raise tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000, cuts to university teaching budgets and ending the EMA (education maintenance allowance). Ian MacDonald was there to capture the events of the day, which reached its climax as protesters stormed campaign headquarters of the Conservative Party, Millbank Tower.

To coincide with the publication of  Student Revolt, an oral history of the Millbank Generation, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs looking at the legacies and lessons learned from 2010 and other student movements.

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2010 student protests student revolt

Part of the protest route passed Conservative Party offices housed in the Millbank building. Policing was minimal and only a handful of police were present when students broke away from the main march to direct their anger at the block housing the Conservative party.

2010 student protests student revolt

Despite the arrival of TSG officers (Tactical Support Group), police were still heavily outnumbered and unable to control the situation.

2010 student protests student revolt

Despite the arrival of TSG officers (Tactical Support Group), police were still heavily outnumbered and unable to control the situation.

2010 student protests student revolt

For several hours student protesters were in effective control of the building. Windows were smashed, walls spray painted, desks overturned. The police were totally overwhelmed and both they and the politicians had underestimated the genuine anger of the students leading up to the demonstration.

2010 student protests student revolt
2010 student protests student revolt
2010 student protests student revolt
2010 student protests student revolt

The Millbank riot gave the student movement a belief and an energy that continued through the following months of 2010.

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Ian Macdonald is a photographer currently living in Yorkshire. He works independently, focusing mainly on political protest photography. He has photographed a range of subjects including the Anti-Poll Tax protests of the early 90s in Glasgow and London, Scottish political protests including anti-war movement, pro-independence and anti-independence events, G20 Protests in London, Anti-austerity movement, Student movement and the UK Uncut demonstrations. Visit his website here.

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Student Revolt: Voices of the Austerity Generation by Matt Myers is available from Pluto Press