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Chippenham students say tuition fee rise is unfair
Students from Hardenhuish School gathered at the Buttercross in Chippenham town centre today to protest against the rise in university fees.
Around 30 youngsters met at 10am and were expecting others, including Sheldon pupils, to join throughout the day.
Many had made banners and placards decrying the rise in fees, and they were chanting rhymes including “Six k? No way!”
Organiser Chris King, 17, said: “The rises are totally unjust and unfair when you consider that most of the people in the cabinet either went to Uni for free or are millionaires.
“We just wanted to show that we’re angry about this and we’re not going to sit quietly and let this happen.”
Most of the students who gathered are around 17 years old, and so may be directly affected by the increase in tuition fees.
Chris, who is a member of the UK Youth Parliament and the Wiltshire Assembly of Youth, said: “The government are continuing our involvement with Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are unwilling to put money behind the education of young people in this country.
“We are the future doctors and nurses and teachers of this country. We are a Lib Dem area and Nick Clegg has gone back on his word to support the students.”
Chippenham MP Duncan Hames was invited to attend the protests but declined to attend as he is in Parliament today.
Another student, aged 16, who wants to attend Winchester or Exeter, was also at the protest.
He said: “It is a very cold day but we want to stand firm and prove our point.
“We definitely want this to be a peaceful protest, I really doubt that it would ever turn into something nasty. Lots of people here are really enthusiastic and we want to make our point.”
Police had attended Hardenhuish to walk the pupils to the Buttercross, and will be remaining with them until 3pm, when the protest ends.
Chippenham Beat Manager Ashleigh Jones said: “They are all very polite and well-behaved.
“The students have the right to protest, as long as it is peaceful. We need to be here in case anything happens or if the protest were to turn violent, but I don’t believe it will at this stage.”