A rally by British students against tuition hikes degenerated into an anti-Semitic affair when student leader Aaron Porter was verbally abused by a group of enraged student protesters.
Porter, who as president of the National Union of Students (NUS), was preparing to address the rally in Manchester, had to be escorted to safety by police
According to UK press reports in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, witnesses said Porter was deluged with chants like ------- Tory Jew and “Aaron Porter we know you, you’re a f******* Tory too’.
The demonstrators hurling abuse at Porter were apparently a small splinter group of the protesters and didn’t represent the behavior of the wider protest.
Porter, a 25-year old Labour Party member, subsequently cancelled plans to speak at the rally, while police investigate.
Fourteen people were arrested at the Manchester protests.
Apparently, as the coalition government plans substantial tuition increases and spending cuts, a growing militant force in the NUS has put pressure on Porter to take a harder line.
NUS sought to organize a protest with our union partners at which all individuals could take part without being subject to verbal and physical intimidation,” Porter said. “It's very disappointing not to have had the opportunity to talk about the real issue of the Government's cuts to the next generation's future.
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts has called for Porter to resign as NUS president, alleging that he has ‘lost the confidence of the movement’.
Meanwhile, British student groups and trade unionists are raising the temperature with respect to the government’s austerity program. Thousands of union members and students staged a similar rally in Westminster, Central London.
Sally Hunt, the General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) lecturers' union, who appeared at the Manchester rally, warned the government is in a war with young people.
It is betraying an entire generation, she said.