Students rally against education cuts

Students protest at Broadway in the city. Picture: SAFFRON HOWDEN
Students protest at Broadway in the city. Picture: SAFFRON HOWDEN

Thousands of students protesting about cuts to higher education have begun to disperse after being involved in a stand-off with police on George Street in Sydney.

The protest led to two arrests and has caused heavy traffic in the city, blocking one northbound lane of George Street. Just after 5pm, all roads through the city had re-opened. The Transport Management Centre said southbound buses using George Street were delayed up to 15 minutes, and northbound buses on Elizabeth Street were delayed up to 10 minutes.

The Sydney protest started at the University of Technology campus at Ultimo, where about 100 police on foot, motorbikes and horses formed a line to keep the students off the busy Broadway thoroughfare.

Students at UTS shouted as one "f--- you, Tony, f--- you", as they waited for their peers from the University of Sydney to march down City Road and join them. Once together, the crowd began to march up George Street to Town Hall.

On the way, they sat down on the street in protest after one of their number was arrested but then continued their walk to Town Hall, where they were met by about 100 riot police deployed to prevent the students travelling further down George Street.

After the rally, they were involved in a stand-off with police on the corner of Bathurst Street as the students tried to work out where to go and police tried to prevent their exit as a group.

Another person was arrested and a smaller group then marched up Bathurst Street towards Hyde Park, accompanied by police.

Many of the students, some who travelled from Newcastle to attend, were carrying placards.

One Sydney University student, Eleanor Morley, who attended both the demonstration during the ABC's Q&A program and the protest at which Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop was surrounded by students, said she was glad the Prime Minister pulled out of a scheduled visit to Deakin University in Victoria.

"[Tony Abbott and his ministers] have no place on our campuses," Ms Morley said.

"I think it's fantastic."

Ms Morley said the budget cuts were the biggest attack on higher education ever seen.



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