Protest day and we hit the streets again asking a few good friends and regular occupation visitors to take the stage and control the occupation HQ, while the majority of us and some more LTSAC members hit the streets of Leeds in a national day of protest against the cut of EMA for sixth form and college students. Today was appropriately and imaginatively named, EMA day because as you find out on marches, all the wit goes into chants and not boring names.
The march started from Parkinson’s steps in Leeds, with a slow start- but you find out that while activists love organising, they’re rarely on time. But as they say, ‘the early bird catches the worm’, and one massively fat, juicy media worm it was, with the BBC Look North interviewing two members of the campaign before the march even began. Then we set off on our quest, megaphone in hand and passion in heart, the chants and message rang clear from the protesting group; which came from here there and everywhere, students from York St John’s University, Leeds University, Leeds Metropolitan University and including some from secondary schools and colleges. Although EMA doesn’t directly affect any of us at university, it helped many of us here especially me concentrate on my studies, allowing me to perform at my best and get to university. It wasn’t us we were fighting for today, it was those in the positions we used to be in, hoping they get the same chance as us.
Now to the best part of a march, the chants: Such family favourites came to play as they always do with ‘No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!’ followed by the ever enchanting ‘Cut back, fight back!’ and so to the more witty of chants, which got a particular individual of LTSAC a sounding cheer and round of applause as he sang solo a Bill Bailey rendition of the Police hit Roxanne, which went as follows: ‘Nick Clegg, you don’t have to put on the red light, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight, Nick Clegg, you don’t have to sell your body to the right.’ That solo mission was taken on by none other than Zach Cotter and must have even put a grin on the Police’s face. Who grimaced in a jovial fashion as we sang ‘This one’s for the boys in blue, Cameron‘s gonna cut you to.’ Yet, in true lefty fashion and out of respect for the women officers policing us as we chanted outside the Council’s building, a slight variation on that song illustrated how Cameron was also going to cut the ‘girls in blue.’ Simply showing creativity is at it’s best when you have a large group, fuelled with passion and armed with a whack off megaphone.
In all seriousness though, the march got it’s point across, with many references to EMA, making this march specifically about the future population of HE and how important EMA is to allowing college students more opportunity to study for their future in university. As well as this, it seemed to worry those in the council building, with the police numbers greatly climbing after a mere two minutes of chanting, this may have been fear of any passion transforming into violence, but this was certainly not the case, the protest made it’s point with it’s mere voice, audio equipment and hunger to strive forward with the fight- shown by the returning of the protest to Leeds Met University for a meeting about contact details and future activism, one in which the Police tried to attend, yet after some stern words from the group they left us in peace to have our meeting. Now all tired, with feet and throats aching we shall lay to rest for the evening, we’ll sleep well tonight- despite the floor.