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London Protests Over Tuition Hikes Turn Violent

Student protesters smash windows as they clash with police after entering Millbank Tower, home of Conservative Party headquarters. Dan Kitwood/Getty hide caption

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Dan Kitwood/Getty

As austerity measures were discussed in England, tens of thousands of students marched in protest. The Washington Post reports:

Protesters marched in opposition to a government plan that could triple the cost of tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, part of a broader effort by the new Conservative-led coalition to slash the British budget deficit, which is now one of the highest in the industrialized world.

A group of students broke away from the crowd of protestors and stormed the offices of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party. Photos show them breaking windows and throwing office chairs. The Daily Telegraph reports eight people were hospitalized:

Several people were knocked unconscious and some were seen with their faces streaming blood after being hit by missiles thrown by protesters

The Guardian reports this might just be a harbinger:

Tonight both ministers and protesters acknowledged that the demonstration – by far the largest and most dramatic yet in response to the government's austerity measures – was "just the beginning" of public anger over cuts. Police, meanwhile, were criticised for failing to anticipate the scale of the disorder.

An estimated 52,000 people, according to the National Union of Students, marched through central London to display their anger over government plans to increase tuition fees while cutting state funding for university teaching. A wing of the protest turned violent as around 200 people stormed 30 Millbank, the central London building that is home to Tory HQ, where police wielding batons clashed with a crowd hurling placard sticks, eggs and some bottles. Demonstrators shattered windows and waved anarchist flags from the roof of the building, while masked activists traded punches with police to chants of "Tory scum".

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