The British government recently announced that they were planning on massive cuts to higher education in the UK. In addition to cutting university funding, they also announced that tuition fees for English students could escalate to as high as £9000 ($14,500) a year - triple than what most students are paying now.

Of course, students that are already in massive dept don't want to hear that they will not only have to pay more to attend university, but their universities would also have to have major cuts in the services and facilities on campus.

So, they decided to take a stand.

The National Union of Students (NUS), which is the overarching organization for all of the student unions around the UK, planned a demonstration in London to show students' disgust with the government's plans. On Wednesday, November 10th, students from all over the UK traveled to London armed with signs, banners, and lots of noisemakers in order to attend the aptly titled "Demolition 2010".

The planned route was to march in a peaceful demonstration from the Horseguards Avenue, through Westminster until reaching Parliament while shouting, protesting, and making their voices heard.

While I was unable to attend the event due to some lectures and meetings with university staff, about 200 Brunel students journeyed into Central dressed in top hats and demo-tape.

The latest numbers I've found online said than an estimated 52,000 people showed up on Wednesday from all corners from the UK. I even heard that a few buses of students even came from Belfast - in Northern Ireland!

In addition to the funding, many students were angry with Nick Clegg, an elected MP from the LibDem party. Apparently when he was campaigning for his election he and his party signed a pledge with the NUS vowing that they were against raising tuition fees. Students, of course, loved this idea and many think that the student vote is what won him the election. Months later, it turned out to all be a lie - Clegg voted in favor of raising tuition. So, needless to say, the students were just slightly pissed off at this blatant betrayal to the people that elected him in the first place. The punishment? A lot of angry students with very rude signs specifically targeting Mr. Clegg. Can't say I feel sorry for him. I'd be pissed too.

While I followed the events of the Demo via the Twitter hashtag #Demo2010 and the BBC, I was disappointed to see that the majority of the attention was being put on a small minority of protesters that broke into Millbank Tower, which is the headquarters for the conservative party.

People set bonfires, smashed out all of the windows, spray painted the walls, and somehow ended up on the roof. Now the police are on the hunt for some idiot who thought it would be a good idea to throw a fire extinguisher over the roof onto the crowd below.

But aside from the group of that destroyed the tower, the majority of students were peaceful while making their voices heard. And they were there for the right reasons and going about their protest in the responsible way.

Unfortunately from what I've read online, it looks like the Demo may have all been in vain. Because of all the media attention to the events at Millbank, many people are saying that it's "too late" to make any changes to the proposed tuition fees and funding cuts - saying that the country's debt has to be controlled somehow and that cutting education funding is how to start.

After seeing how massive state funding cuts to the budget at Virginia Tech last year, I totally sympathized with the students' plight. It sucks. Massively. And it makes the quality of student life decrease dramatically when you start cutting programs, arts, clubs, intermural sports, library hours, student jobs... the list goes on and on. I wish I had seen such a massive demonstration from students in the US over our funding cuts - but we just sat there and took what was handed to us, only whining about it to the media rather than taking a stand.

And while I admire the UK students' tenacity and supported them in their battle, sometimes David can't always beat Goliath. But at least they gave it a shot.

Thanks to Ollie for sending me pics from Demo for this post. And to the random people whose pics I stole from facebook.