Thousands of student protestors marched to London's Trafalgar Square on Wednesday against the government's plan to cut university funding.
No ifs, no buts, no education cuts, the 2,000 or so protestors chanted en route from the University of London to the city's financial center.
Significantly fewer than the 10,000 expected protestors showed up on Wednesday, and they were outnumbered by the 4,000 police officers on sight.
Police and demonstrators met head-to-head in Trafalgar, the popular central London square between Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. A breakaway group affiliated with Occupy London attempted to pitch tents and occupy the square, but officers have arrested anyone trying to stay.
According to The Guardian, police are also arresting anyone who deviates from the official march route.
Another 1,000 people or so gathered at Occupy London's base camp outside of St. Paul's cathedral, where musicians such as Billy Bragg and Chumbawamba played for the occupiers who were supporting the student march.
It's quite a festive mood still - some are dancing, while four people are playing badminton, The Guardian's Patrick Kingsley noted.
Students inspired people when they took the government to task last year over austerity cuts intended to slice up the UK's education system for the benefit of the priviliged few, said Occupy London supporter Laura Taylor. We must challenge those who have caused the iniquities of the financial crisis. The nation's students and others should not be the ones paying for the gambling of the financial sector and the lack of regulation.
The budget cuts are part of the British government's efforts to slash its defect and cut costs. The measures would also increase students' tuition to public universities by as much as 300 percent, raising costs from around 3,000 to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) per year.
Student protests have been sporadically organized throughout the past year, the largest occurring last December, when tens of thousands of people gathered in various locations around the capital.
That demonstration was marred with violence, and students and police clashed on the street. Windows were broken in the British capital, and Prince Charles' Rolls Royce was assaulted while he drove down Regent Street.
The student protests are also part of a wave of social unrest in Great Britain. Other austerity measures, such as changes to the public pension system that would workers' mandatory pension contribution while cutting government contributions and raising the retirement age from 65 to 68, have prompted nationwide strikes from unions and public sector workers.
In June, 750,000 workers, many of them teachers, students and even airport and other transportation employees shut down the UK for a full day.
Police generally remained in control of the protests Wednesday, although some claimed that heavy-handed tactics were being used to keep protestors in line. Scuffles between demonstrators and police were reported in Fetter Lane and Fleet Street.
Likely still shocked by how a protest in Tottenham, North London in August spiraled into four consecutive days of rioting, the Metropolitan Police Force has authorized officers to use rubber bullets if violence breaks out on Wednesday.
It is ludicrous. It is antagonistic, it is like they are egging on a fight, which is frankly embarrassing, demonstrator Beth Atkinson told The Mirror.