sexta-feira, janeiro 21, 2011

Student protests in Netherlands

Today Friday January 21 there was a first national student protest in The Hague to protest the reforms on higher education by the new government (Christian/Corporate with support from neo-racist Wilders party). First there was a boring manifestation on the 'designed protest' zone Malieveld with some 15.000 students. Even the sub-minister for education was invited to speak to the crowd. Hew as pelted with fruit and disappeared again as the crowd started to become unruly (a big explosion in the back of the crowd was a sign to move into town). The official student organizations had delivered 400 'guards' who acted in cooperation with the police to maintain 'order'. Droves of people then started to walk into town center, without any central organization, but with some smaller 'book bloc'-groups.

Meanwhile police unsuccessfully tried to force people to walk back to the (central) station to take the train. After some time and for unknown reasons they riot cops and even on horses and with dogs attacked the students trying to go home. Meanwhile 'downtown' the situation became tense in front of the Binnenhof (government buildings) and at the building of the ministry of Education. At both places riot cops defended the buildings and attacked the demonstrators.

At the Binnenhof police couldn't sweep the Plein square because their vans with riot cops couldn't reach the place because they were being blocked by a sit-down-blockade, so they had to beat those up first. After that they chased all the students from the square, with horses and cars. There was a bit of throwing back, but not much. The official student organizations have declared to feel sorry for the 'violence' and to be on the side of the police. Many students understand now that they will have to organize separately from them and from below. As happens so often with repressing protest the demonstrators lernt a thorough lesson about the functioning of the state.

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