Protesters smash into Tory HQ and storm the roof as anti-cuts rioters hijack tuition
Quote: * 52,000 protest in Westminster over shake-up
* Millbank and Tory HQ overrun by rampaging students
* Rioters warn: 'This is only the beginning'
* Eight are treated in hospital, with three police also injured
* 'Embarrassed' police admit they were only prepared for peaceful march
* MI5 HQ sealed with officers guarding exits
* Clegg defends Lib Dem U-turn on hike at PMQs
* Cameron: Rise will mean foreign students pay less
Students went on the rampage today as a huge protest against the coalition's controversial move to hike tuition fees turned violent.
Around 52,000 students and teachers travelled to London for a march and rally in Westminster against the Government's plans to raise fees from £3,290-a-year to up to £9,000.
Scotland Yard appeared to have been caught on the hop as the peaceful protest descended into riots shortly after 1pm when many left the planned route and headed to Tory party headquarters.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the force should have anticipated the level of violence 'better', adding: 'It's not acceptable. It's an embarrassment for London and to us and we have to do something about that.
'I just do think that we cannot accept that level of behaviour.
'I think we've also got to ask ourselves some questions. This level of violence was largely unexpected and what lessons can we learn for the future. We are already doing that and asking those questions.
'Certainly I am determined to have a thorough investigation into this matter.'
Asked why police did not manage to keep law and order, he said: 'It must have been an awful time for those people trying to go about their daily business within those buildings.
'I feel terribly sorry that they have had to go through what must have been quite a traumatic experience. We are determined that does not happen again. That's unacceptable to us.
'We want to send a very clear message to people demonstrating, to say 'fine come to the streets of London if you feel you need to peacefully demonstrate, but we cannot allow thuggish behaviour like that'.'
He went on: 'I think the scenes that we have seen today both inside and outside Millbank are wholly unacceptable, disgraceful behaviour.
'It's just thuggish, loutish behaviour by criminals and we need to ensure that we have a thorough investigation to bring these criminals to account.
'We didn't expect this level of violence. There was a lot of work done with the students themselves before this demonstration and there is no real history of that level of violence.'
A controlled release of students from the building in Millbank and the famous Millbank Tower next door was underway tonight, with a thick line of riot police surrounding the area.
Even MI5's headquarters at nearby Thames House on the other side of the river was sealed off by heavy metal doors, with police on guard at all exits.
As crowds gathered outside Millbank Tower at lunchtime, the demonstration was still peaceful and even when a surge made it inside the building it was still relatively good-tempered.
Protesters threw smoke bombs before leaving again without confrontation but once outside, youths dressed in hoodies and balaclavas went wild and smashed through the reinforced windows.
Two hours later, the entrance had been destroyed and was totally overrun as riot police battled to regain control. Huge panels of glass had been smashed by protesters hurling chairs.
With scores of protesters on the roof, police were also warning about concrete being thrown to the ground below. Reports claimed a ceiling had been brought down by the crowds.
By mid-afternoon, scores had also made it inside 30 Millbank where the Tories are based. They chanted 'Tory scum' and 'Nick Clegg, we know you, you're a ****ing Tory too'.
Scotland Yard admitted it had been planning for a 'peaceful demonstration' but insisted it had called in reinforcements as soon as they were needed. Several arrests have already been made.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Federation said: 'Once again, Metropolitan Police officers stand between violent protesters, innocent members of the public and property while under attack and facing extreme provocation.
'The officers have shown great restraint and professionalism.
'It is a reminder that the Government must maintain the number of fully warranted police officers to ensure that policing these spontaneous incidents, along with their everyday duties, can be sustained in the capital.
'While we understand and support the right to peaceful protest, police officers must be supported when dealing with such unprovoked violence.'
Unions suggested the protest had been 'hijacked' by Left-wing rioters, who had planned their attack beforehand and condemned the violence as 'despicable'.
London Mayor Boris Johnson echoed the sentiments, also describing the rioters as a 'despicable minority'.
In a statement from inside Tory HQ tonight, the rioters warned: 'This is only the beginning. We stand against the cuts, in solidarity with all the poor, elderly, disabled and working people affected.
'We are against all cuts and the marketisation of education. We are occupying the roof of Tory HQ to show we are against the Tory system of attacking the poor and helping the rich.'
Elsewhere, around 100 students broke away to protest outside the Business Department. Scores of police had to move in to stop them storming that building too.
One man was hauled from the crowd outside Parliament, wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being carried away.
At least eight people were taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries and bloodied police officers were seen being led away. Three were later taken to hospital.
The clashes are just the start of what threatens to be a winter of discontent as public anger rises up against the Government's drastic spending cuts.
There is abject fury that the Lib Dems have ditched their pre-election pledge to scrap all tuition fees and signed up to the increase. Placards accused them of being 'traitors'.
National Union of Students president Aaron Porter warned that the Lib Dems would lose the support of a generation of young people if they refused to back down.
'MPs must now think twice before going ahead with this outrageous policy,' he said.
Mr Porter described the violence as 'despicable' and said a small minority had 'hijacked' the rally, suggesting they had planned it beforehand.
UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt added: 'The actions of a minority should not distract from today's message.
'The overwhelming majority of staff and students on the march came here to to send a clear and peaceful message to the politicians. The actions of a minority, out of 50,000 people, is regrettable.'
Before the protest turned nasty, Nick Clegg was savaged over the U-turn at PMQs where he was standing in for David Cameron who is in China.
Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman likened Mr Clegg to a student who had met a 'dodgy bloke' in Freshers' Week and done something he will regret.
She claimed he had been 'led astray' by the Tories. The deputy PM insisted the plans were progressive and unavoidable, and accused Labour of offering no alternative.
Miss Harman taunted Mr Clegg from the very start, reminding MPs of the Lib Dem pledge to scrap tuition fees and asking him to tell the House how this was progressing.
The Deputy PM was forced to admit it was 'an extraordinarily difficult issue' and hinted for the first time that Tory pressure might have also played a part in the shift.
'I have been entirely open about the fact that we have not been able to deliver the policy that we held in Opposition,' he said.
'Because of the financial situation, because of the compromises of the coalition government we have had to put forward a different policy.'
He insisted that the Lib Dems had stuck to their 'wider ambition' of making sure going to university was handled in a 'progressive' way and did not deter poorer students.
Miss Harman was scathing about his claim that public finances were to blame, pointing out that the changes only start in 2012/13 whereas the deficit should be addressed by 2014.
'This is about him going along with a Tory plan to shove the cost of He onto students and their families,' she said.
'We all know what it's like, you're at Freshers Week, you meet up with a dodgy bloke and do things you regret. Isn't it true he's been led astray by the Tories?'
Mr Clegg reminded that Labour had also attacked tuition fees but introduced them when they came to power and how the previous government had initiated the Browne Review.
'I know she thinks she can re-position the Labour Party as the champion of students but let's remember the Labour Party's record,' he said.
Miss Harman accused the coalition of hiking up fees while they are 'pulling the plug on funding and dumping the cost on students'.
She pressed Mr Clegg again: 'During the election he was the one who hawked himself around university campuses pledging to vote against tuition fees.
'By the time it came to Freshers' Week, he had broken his promise. Every single Lib Dem MP signed the pledge to scrap tuition fees. He must honour that promise. Will he think again?'
Mr Clegg said: 'The truth is before the election we didn't know the unholy mess that was going to be left to us by her party.
'On this issue as on so many issues the two parties on this side of the house have come together to create a solution for the future.'
The changes, unveiled last month, will see undergraduates saddled with debts of up to £43,500 as they begin their working lives in the biggest shake-up of higher education for half a century.
Middle-class graduates will bear the brunt of the pain, with those on £45,000 repaying nearly as much as those earning more than £80,000 since the better off will repay their loans more quickly.
Ministers insist that everyone will see their monthly payments fall because they have raised the threshold at which graduates start to pay back their loans from £15,000 to £21,000.
The Department for Business said a graduate on £30,000 would repay £15.58 a week but average debts for a new graduate will soar from £21,000 to £30,000.
Only a minority of graduates will ever clear their debts. Most will be repaying well into their 50s and will see outstanding debt written off after 30 years.
In the run-up to the election every Lib Dem MP signed a pledge to vote against any increase in tuition fees. The party’s manifesto also promised to scrap tuition fees.
But Business Secretary Vince Cable announced last month that he was backing Lord Browne’s review of student funding, which will saddle the average student with debts of more than £30,000.
The move sparked uproar in Lib Dem ranks, with former leader Sir Menzies Campbell among those who are set to rebel and vote against the measures in the Commons.
Lib Dem local government spokesman Lord Greaves warned the party will be sees as 'cheats, hypocrites and liars' for breaking their pledge and accused Mr Clegg and Mr Cable of 'shoddy, unprincipled behaviour'.
The coalition agreement allows Lib Dem MPs to abstain on the vote on tuition fees if they find the policy unacceptable. But several MPs are expected to go further and vote against.
Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes has hinted the party's backbench MPs could be given an unofficial licence to rebel and stressed their official policy is still to scrap fees.
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara
Resistance Films Youtube Channel