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U.K. students protest tuition fee hikes

Thousands of British students protest against government plans to triple university tuition fees, two weeks after a similar demonstration sparked a small riot.
Protesters face the police as thousands of students protest against tuition fees at Whitehall in London Wednesday. ((Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press))

Thousands of British students protested Wednesday against government plans to triple university tuition fees, and there were sporadic scuffles with police, two weeks after a similar demonstration sparked a small riot.

The Metropolitan Police said two officers were injured in London, including one with a broken arm. Three protesters were arrested.

College and university students across the country held marches and sit-ins to oppose the decision to increase university fees to $14,000 a year, a key plank in the government's deficit-cutting austerity measures.

In central London, the university students and younger pupils in school uniforms marched from Trafalgar Square toward the Houses of Parliament, chanting "no ifs, no buts, no education cuts."

Some climbed on top of bus shelters, while several attacked a parked police van, smashing the windows and scrawling graffiti.

Near Parliament, lines of police guarded the headquarters of the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems have drawn particular anger because the party campaigned on a promise to abolish tuition fees, then abandoned it once in power.   

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