Leeds protest students get their marching orders

Sit-in student protesters have been given their marching orders ahead of an attempt to shut down higher education across Leeds.

Around 100 students have occupied a lecture theatre in the Michael Sadler building at Leeds University since November 24 in protest at proposed tuition fee rises.

But the university has ordered students to vacate the building saying

they will take action against anyone refusing to move.

The demonstrators are calling on students across the city to skip lectures and join them in a mass strike outside Leeds Metropolitan University's Student Union from 12pm today in a bid to preserve

education for all.

The move comes the day before Parliament is due to vote on whether to treble tuition fees from 3,000 to up to 9,000 a year.

The issue has divided politicians, with Leeds North West Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland now calling for a delay in the vote and a full public consultation in a bid to avoid a damaging party split.

The Coalition government has proposed that students repay the cost of education once they have graduated and are earning more than 21,000 at a rate of 4 a month or more.

Politics post-graduate Ian Pattison, spokesman for the Leeds occupation, said cuts to education are not inevitable.

He claims that he will not be able to afford to continue his studies if the cost of education is shifted from the state to students.

Mr Pattinson said: "We have made an impact and scared the Government into bringing the vote forward.

"They are saying that there are no alternatives and cuts are necessary.

"But look at Wales. Cuts in education are not inevitable."

Following student demonstrations, the Welsh Assembly agreed that students will pay no more than 3,290 a year.

Mr Pattison added: "The Con-Dem government has seen the opposition, and want to bulldoze through their plans, before it grows any further.

"Whichever way the vote goes this is not the end."

The Leeds occupation is sending 150 campaigners to march on Parliament tomorrow. Coaches will leave from outside Leeds University's Parkinson building steps at 6am.

A simulatenous protest will also take place in Leeds for anyone who cannot travel to London.

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