Kent students stage Senate building sit-in

Image caption,
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Trafalgar Square, London, as MPs voted on tuition fees

A group of about 50 students have occupied the Senate building at the University of Kent's Canterbury campus.

The students are protesting against the government's increase in tuition fees, which MPs approved on Thursday.

They also want their vice chancellor to retract being a signatory of the letter published in the Telegraph (8 December) supporting the government's proposal.

About 20 students began the sit-in on Wednesday and more joined as the vote took place, student Zoe Scandrett said.

'Peaceful protest'

The 21-year-old final year student said the group planned to stay there even though the parliamentary vote on tuition fees had taken place.

Ms Scandrett said: "We're still planning to stay overnight even though the vote has happened. That is not the sole reason we are here."

She said the group would remain in the building "indefinitely".

Another student, Aaron Kiely, described the demonstration as a "peaceful occupation".

He said: "It has been absolutely peaceful. The intent is to create a free space for students to discuss the action and make sure we have a united campaign against the cuts in higher education."

On Thursday, MPs backed the coalition government's plans to allow universities in England to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year with a 21-vote majority.

The vote took place amid violent scenes in London.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Parliament and protesters battled with police and attacked buildings. Police said they had made nine arrests.

The university declined to comment.

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