Prime minister Mark Rutte has no plan to amend the government’s plans to cut spending on higher education, he said after the weekly cabinet meeting.
‘I am not going to give the impression that the plans will change dramatically,’ he is quoted as saying in the Telegraaf after a massive demonstration by students in The Hague.
The cabinet has decided to get the government finances in order and improve the quality of higher education. This makes the savings necessary, the prime minister said.
According to police estimates, 15,000 students gathered in the centre of The Hague in protest at the plans to to make slow students pay higher fees and to stop giving grants for masters studies.
Hundreds of professors and other university staff also took part. The government plans to slash spending on research and development, threatening thousands of jobs, the universities say.
The main demonstration passed off peacefully, but some 22 people were arrested after clashes between small groups and riot police later near the station and education ministry building in the late afternoon.
One eyewitness told DutchNews.nl: ‘The station was full and there were a large group of protesters in front of the education ministry. Many more students wanted to join 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.’
According to the Telegraaf, a number of the people arrested were known ‘radicals’ and the police had been prepared to take action.
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