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Disturbances spoil end of student protest against funding cuts

Friday 21 January 2011

Riot police clashed with student protesters at the end of a mass demonstration against funding cuts in the centre of The Hague on Friday.

A group of between 300 and 500 students had gathered around the parliament building after the main demo had ended and were eventually dispersed by police, news agency ANP said.

Order was restored after charges by riot police at around 17.00 hours, ANP said.

Mass gathering

Between 11,000 and 15,000 students and university staff gathered on the Malieveld on Friday in protest at government plans to cut university funding and reduce student grants. According to Nos television, it was the biggest student demonstration in the Netherlands since 1988.

The students are angry at government plans to make slow students higher fees. Students who take a year longer than the standard three years to get a degree will have to pay an extra €3,000 a year in university or college fees.

University budgets will also be cut by €3,000 for each slow student. The aim of these changes is to generate €370m.

The government is also planning to stop giving students any grants for their masters studies.

Professors

Some 1,000 professors and lecturers also took part in the protests in full academic garb.

Police had taken extra security measures because of rumours that 'radicals' were planning to disrupt the protests. But by 16.00, as the demonstration began to break up, there had been no trouble.

In a speech to the students, Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal democratic party D66 pointed out that he, prime minister Mark Rutte and foreign minister Maxime Verhagen all took far longer to complete their degrees. Rutte took six years and Verhagen 11.

Junior education minister Halbe Zijlstra, who is in charge of pushing though the changes, was greeted by boos when he addressed the crowd. The minister said he understood students' worries but that stressed the changes are necessary to keep spending on student loans down.

Are the students right to protest? Take part in our poll.


© DutchNews.nl



 
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Readers' comments (7)

Absolutely right to protest. We have to support our students, their future and our future!

By Lotta Therme-Lindell | January 21, 2011 4:02 PM


I notice that the title of this article was just updated. First it was that the protest went fine without violence. Now the narrative is that student protests at the end spoiled the event. I was there. What happened is that police using this bullshit line about "radicals" around, kept blocking people, rounding people up and harassing them. The station was full and there were a large group of protesters in front of the education ministry. Many more students wanted to joint them but they were forcibly blocked by police with vans and horses. After a while, the police stormed the group who couldn't go anywhI notice that the title of this article was just updated. First it was that the protest went fine without violence. Now the narrative is that student protests at the end spoiled the event. I was there. What happened is that police using this bullshit line about "radicals" around, kept blocking people, rounding people up and harassing them. The station was full and there were a large group of protesters in front of the education ministry. Many more students wanted to joint them but they were forcibly blocked by police with vans and horses. After a while, the police stormed the group who couldn't go anywhere.

By Rob | January 21, 2011 4:49 PM


(continued) I repeatedly saw police attack random people and start fights. I was standing on a corner trying to figure out which way to go and they detained me and others for just standing there, took my information and demanded my ID. The police put on riot gear, and brought out horses and dogs. I saw them hitting the dogs in the face and both the dogs and the horses were riled up. Eventually they just pushed everyone into the fence beating them, the fence broke and they trampled people and beat them. There was no riot. There were hundreds of police and they had complete control of the situation. A protest is not just listening to politicians campaign.

By Rob | January 21, 2011 4:58 PM


It would seem as if the police had orders from the guv to discredit the students: thus making the students look bad in their demo, in order to accredit themselves & their unjustified selfish plans.
I don't believe that the students had any other intention, but to show peacefully their opposition to proposed government cuts in education. NL needs a 'Robin Hood', not a 'Sheriff of Nottingham' government!

By The visitor | January 22, 2011 1:43 PM


funny how only cutting student grants and funding is emphasised when above it mentions cutting funds of those who don't complete their degree on time...this would motivate students to study for their future and not for a student life avoiding real life...
just trying to see another side.

By jenny_k87 | January 22, 2011 2:44 PM


How's this for a concept. Go to school for 3 years, graduate, and get a job. This country has far too many permanent students. I'm also sick and tired of protests always disrupting traffic in town, while working people are trying to go home to see their families. Maybe if some of these 'students' were in school instead of rioting, they wouldn't need so long to complete a degree, and could learn how to copy and paste a comment correctly. I suppose it could also be that some students simply aren't smart enough to complete a degree in a normal amount of time, or love that the taxpayers pay for their
laziness.

By DH | January 23, 2011 10:32 AM


It was scary. My Mum and I were trying to make our way home when we suddenly were in the middle of the protesters just as police charged. Police would not let us step back behind their rows. They were poking and hitting people until, finally, we were in the very last row face to face with police at which point a policeman grabbed me and pushed behind him into safety. I was crying looking for my Mum, she ended up ok.

By stella DeBode | January 23, 2011 9:52 PM



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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