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Tuition hike protests: London's riot vs. Long Beach's 'protest carnival'

In England, as in California, students gathered Wednesday to protest increases to college tuition. Here's the difference. In London, about 50,000 people showed up to a rally that became a violent protest, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, our paper reports another story of protest outside the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach –- or, rather, a "protest carnival," as the demonstrators called it. The toned-down, friendly affair comprised of "about 40 demonstrators, including students, faculty and staff from several of the university's 23 campuses." That's it. Rather than breaking windows and spray painting messages on public property, students attempted to make their point playing symbolic games such as "Pin the Money on the CSU." While we're glad riots didn't break out, we have to wonder why more California students didn't band together to display more concern about the possibility of losing access to a college education.

In London:


In Long Beach:


More photos after the jump>>

-- Alexandra Le Tellier




Long Beach:



The conversation: The political, emotional and financial state of college students

Editorial: Tuition increases threaten to price middle-class families out of California colleges

London photos -- Top: Student protesters smash windows as they clash with police after entering Millbank Tower home of Conservative Party headquarters Wednesday in London. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images. Bottom two: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Long Beach photos -- Top: Students played games that represented obstacles at CSUC headquarters in Long Beach. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times. Bottom photo: Students also displayed signs. Reed Saxon/AP photo.


Comments () | Archives (9)

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Maham Hashmi

if we had been in 40 in London we would have probably done the same. .
when thousands marched peacefully in 1997 against the introduction of fees we got fees
when thousands marched peacefully against the introduction of top-up fee in 2006 we got top-up fee
This is what happens when governments constantly stifle the students voice.


Major difference...their education is free. I will assume that therefore they don't need a job to sustain it. CSU students largely commute and work. Where do you think most of us were on Wednesday? I, for one, was working...as much as I would like to protest...I still need to finance my education someway since our state has a reputation of ignoring our voices.

Your observation, if anything, lacks any attempt at depth.

Joel Wischkaemper

I am beginning to believe most of the higher tier educational processes are pointless until this country gets it problems under control. There is little point to learning the basic of Mechanical Engineering when the Auto Industry is being destroyed by the country and Unions. But even more important, the money to pay for the societies part of the students education is not there with all that is happening. In addition to that, the colleges seem to be allowing illegal aliens an open system and that while Citizen Students cannot find a slot.

We need to think clearly about where we are, where we are going, (and without the hype) and what we want to do with the educational system.


It's because their police don't carry guns.

Aaron Earleywine

What choice does anyone have? Should they immigrate to another country?

Ian Schenck

RDuriez has a point. As a student at CSULB, if I'm not in class, I'm working. When I learned about the Board of Trustees meeting, of course I wanted to protest, but protesting doesn't always fit in with my work schedule.

Also, as a commuter school, CSULB has very little unity. At other campuses, such as UCSC, there is actual resistance, such as occupations. Of course it's not on the scale we've just seen in London, but there is a presence.


It would be wonderful if Americans in every situation protested to the extent that Europeans do. General strikes in France over austerity measures will never be matched by one in California over the proposed raise to the retirement age. However, this short dismissal of the Cal State protest has no awareness of history or the systems being protested. Cal State students and UC students, as well as faculty, staff, and the teachers and staff of K-12, came out to protest in huge numbers around the state about six months ago, in the Spring. The effort was sincere and organized, and in spite of it, fees went up, teachers were laid off. Now, only months later, they are being hit with more of the same. The University system in England is more centralized, and Europeans have a stronger tradition of mass protest, as well feeling (justifiably) more entitled to a very affordable college education (just like universal health care, you'd have to pry that from their dead hands). Regarding this editorial, I am amazed that pictures of students breaking windows in London was used to illustrate a point because had any students broken a window in Long Beach the whole thing would have been dismissed a riot and the editorial would have condemned the "violence", not lauded it as an international example of effective protest.


Many of the protesters in London were not even students but "professional" Anarchists bent on trashing the city.

The closest thing SoCal has seen to the London riots recently was the mini-riot over the shooting of the drunken, knife-wielding Guatemalan by LAPD. That disturbance was also staffed by "professional" protesters from Socialist Workers Party, La Raza, etc.

Some folks refer to these "spontaneous" disturbances as Rent-a-Riot...

Maham Hashmi

@RDuriez I didn't mean to demean the protest in California, the point I was making was there was a difference. I took a day off work because I knew this was the big one after years of small protests. If you really want to know what happened, the short version is there were 52000 students on the streets, and the police decided to let them run riot because they are facing major cuts and need to be able to justify asking for their budget not to be cut when the whole country has to tighten their belts. I saw kids walking into the building looking around to see if anyone would stop them and no one did.



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