#Demo2012

STUDENTS at Aberystwyth University have expressed their discontent with the protest which took place on the 21st November. The protest, organised by NUS (the National Union of Students), was a demonstration against the rise in tuition fees which have had a detrimental effect on both current and future students’ education.

NUS estimated a turnout of 10,000 students to march from Lambeth to Kennington Park; and despite early reports showing this estimate being nearly met, representation from Welsh Universities, especially Aberystwyth was, according to one student,  “dismal”. 12 students, along with three Sabbatical Officers travelled to London to support the demonstration.

Since the Demo, some students have complained about the lack of publicity around the University, which meant that they were ignorant to the fact that the Demo was taking place; whilst others refused to support the protest due to the offensive undertone which emerged, due to chants which had been leaked from an email to the press. NUS President of Guild Development, Vicki Baars, sent a list of suggested chants including one calling for students to “Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the tories on the top, put the libdems in the middle and burn the f***ng lot! [sic]”

The planning for this protest was ill-received around Aberystwyth University. Welsh students expressed their frustration that for the second demonstration running, NUS Wales have delayed the availability of bi-lingual materialsOne student revealed to The Courier that his choice to not attend the demo was due to the poor choice of route on Liam Burns’ (NUS President) part (that no relevant buildings were along the route and the rally in Kennington Park was a superfluous choice), whilst others took to Twitter to parody the event slogans – notably changing “Educate. Employ. Empower” to “Organise. Agitate. Resist.”

On the protest itself, other students UK-wide agreed with this, chanting “NUS, where have you marched us?” and pelting Burns with eggs and a satsuma to show their dissatisfaction.

In a recent interview with Aberystwyth Student Media’s own radio station, Bay Radio, Burns defended his choice of route, saying that it was chosen as the “safest possible for everyone involved”. Despite the police presence still being keenly felt after the riotous protests in 2010 (especially considering the route included a march over Westminster Bridge; where the violence occurred), the protest went off with minimal incident.