Hundreds set to join cuts Norfolk protest

Hundreds of people from across Norfolk are expected to march in Norwich tomorrow in protest at county council plans to cut public services and jobs.

Norfolk Coalition of the Cuts has organised the protest, which will start out at Chapelfield Gardens in the city from noon.

And in a further sign of unrest about county council cuts, hundreds of college students are expected to march from City College Norwich to Norfolk County Hall to protest against plans to scrap transport subsidies for higher education pupils on Monday.

The demonstrations come as around 11 University of East Anglia students yesterday occupied the UEA council building as part of a protest at government plans to raise tuition fees.

Students rushed into the building at around 8am, and the university said a female security guard was taken to hospital after being knocked to the ground. The students left at 9.30pm.

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Anna Tomson, 20, one of the student protesters, said the aim was to have a peaceful sit-in to encourage more students to protest about the tuition fees rise.

'There was a scuffle as we were going into the building, but we would like to say we are a peaceful protest,' the 20-year-old international development student said. 'We are an autonomous group of students that wanted to make a stand.'

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A UEA spokesman said: 'Many students will have strong views about the likelihood of changes to fees and to the funding structure, and the University acknowledges their right to peaceful protest. We would urge students involved in such activities not to disrupt the studies and work of others. We are concerned that a member of our security staff was hurt when students entered the building this morning.

'Universities make a significant impact on the economy and society at large as well as enhancing the lives of individuals. An adequate investment in universities is essential to preserve our ability to continue to provide a world-class education.'

Norfolk County Council is looking at several spending cuts in a bid to bridge a �155m funding black hole.

Organisers of Saturday's demonstration expect the march to be swelled by many members of the public in caring roles – and by students angered by government plans to raise university fees and scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance which helps many students at colleges in Norfolk.

Jo Rust, one of the organisers, said: 'This will be our biggest event so far. The campaign is growing as more people realise there is a realistic alternative to the proposed cuts and the misery they would cause'.

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