Scotland: Youth and student protests in Dundee

Dundee students, from the universities, local colleges and schools took part in protests across the city on November 24 as part of the national walk outs and protests.

Activists from Youth Fight for Jobs and Education, Socialist Students and Socialist Party Scotland helped by mobilising support and giving direction to the action.

At Dundee University a protest that grew to hundreds was organised by a group of Community Education students who demanded that the students association backed the national walkouts. The Community Education students led a fantastic demonstration and sit in that electrified the campus. Their initiative drew support from passing students who joined the protest at the library . At short notice they mobilised support from their classes bringing colourful placards and banners including one that read "Clegg sold out quicker than Take That" and led chants of "education is a right, they say cut, we say fight!"and "hands off our education". STV cameras filmed students crowding around the entrance to the Dalhousie Building.

After marching around campus the students decided to storm the main Tower building when a delegation that went inside to demand that the Principal Pete Downes come and explain his public support for the introduction of a graduate tax to students.

Students sat down in the foyer and chanted until Pete Downes made an appearance. Downes faced angry questions about his obscene salary of £212,000 a year and cuts at the university which will lead to two hundred job losses. He stammered for an answer in front of over hundred students as Socialist Students member Leah Ganley refuted his complaint about protesters "personalising" his decisions to cut the university budget. Leah explained how students on her Law Diploma course received no financial support despite fees of thousands of pounds as grants have been removed by the Law Society without the university replacing them. Pete Downes winced as students shouted "shame on you" when Leah explained that some students on her course were becoming bankrupt, having their houses repossessed.

Students then marched to a rally with speakers from the UCU and the local trades council. There are plans to revitalise the anti cuts campaign at the university with a walkout on Tuesday 30 November and to support the strike action by lecturers that is likely to take place in January.

Defend the EMA

The Community Education students then marched into the city centre to support the protest against attacks on Education Maintenance Allowance organised by school students at Harris Academy and Youth Fight for Jobs and Education. Over the last few weeks a petition against attacks on EMA has been circulated around schools in Dundee started by Youth Fight for Jobs and Education activist and Harris student Wayne Scott. Harris Academy and the local colleges were leafleted by the campaign. The protest was covered for two days by the local papers. Students from Harris Academy, Dundee College, Angus College and Dundee university braved the snow to protest in the evening.

Reports from England and Wales on the students day of protests

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