Varsity Exclusive video: Students clash with police at Senate House
Violence erupts during protests against higher education funding cuts as Cambridge students and local sixth-formers clash with police
by Tristan Dunn
Wednesday 24th November 2010, 14:37 GMT
A protest in Cambridge turned violent this afternoon, as students clashed with police and broke into Senate House grounds.
The protest began at noon in front of Great St. Mary's Church with approximately 100 to 200 students gathering with banners, drums and horns.
The activists marched through the city centre of Cambridge, bringing traffic to a stop, chanting slogans such as "Tory scum".
By 13.15, the protest had arrived back at Great St. Mary's and students began to climb over the railings of Senate House. Police did not attempt to stop any of the students climbing over the railings.
Within half an hour upwards of 200 students had occupied the grounds of Senate House.
It appears that the police were taken by surprise by the scale of the crowd. One police office told Varsity only six officers were initially deployed. By mid-afternoon at least eight police cars were parked along King's Parade.
One student had even climbed up the scaffolding currently on one of the buildings of Senate House and attached anti-cuts banners. He was later brought down by the police.
By 14.15 the activists began to march towards the front of Senate House where they clashed with police.
A Varsity reporter saw a confrontation between a protestor and a police officer on the grass. This student was later taken away by police officers.
Some of the activists were shouting claims of police brutality which remain unconfirmed. However, police officers were seen video-taping the whole event.
One protestor told Varsity that a student was hit by a police officer in front of the main entrance of the building.
The majority of the students were from local sixth-form colleges and the University of Cambridge. However some students taking part were as young as 14.
Speaking to Varsity, two 14-year-old students said "we saw the protest march past our school and decided to join in." There were initially around twenty students but some were stopped by the police and "escorted back to school".
The two students speaking to Varsity said they avoided being caught by the police by "hiding within the crowd".
Varsity reporters are on the scene now. Follow live developments here as they unfold.