★ ISM - UK
Augsburg and Hannover, January 17/18th:
Rallies for Free Education
In the struggle for free education a broad alliance called for rallies in Augsburg (Bavaria) and Hannover (Lower-Saxony) on January 17th and 18th respectively.
Bavaria and Lower-Saxony are the only two federal states (out of 16) in Germany left charging general tuition fees at universities.
In five other federal states tuition fees were abolished again after massive protests in the past few years - e.g. most recently in North-Rhine Westphalia.
That the demonstrations were initiated now is no coincidence. In Bavaria a popular referendum aiming to abolish tuition fees kicked off on January 17th. For it to be successful almost 1,000,000 people need to participate. It is likely to succeed, recent polls suggest that around 74% of the population reject the idea to charge people for the opportunity to study. The referendum ends on January 30th.
Up to 2,000 people participated in the rally in Hannover and 600 in Augsburg. At least in Hannover protesters did not just express their rejection of tuition fees, but also focussed on the abolition of fees linked to the access to education in general - incl. kindergarden.
Many students in Bavaria and Lower Saxony also protested during the Global Education Strike in November 2012.
website of the referendum: volksbegehren-studiengebuehren.de
In Lower-Saxony elections for the parliament of the federal state are scheduled for January 20th. Opposition parties are supporting the call for the abolition of tuition fees - at least for now.
Let's see if tuition fees will be abolished across Germany in the coming months. That would also be an important signal for the struggle on the global level.
videos and pictures of the rallies:
banner says: for a society based on solidarity! - tearing down barriers in the access to education!
Student Collectives - Öğrenci Kolektifleri -
in Turkey appeal for Worldwide Solidarity
Remember the state repression during the protests at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara in December 2012?
This appeal for support was sent to the global ISM mailing list on January 18 - the general assembly is scheduled for January 25th:
We are an independent student union in Turkey, the Student Collectives (Öğrenci Kolektifleri in Turkish). We are fighting against commercialization of education and we demand the right of free education, free accommodation, free transportation against neoliberalism. We also fight for democratic rights as the current government, AKP, attacks everyone's democratic rights and gets people arrested who are against this government.The prime minister, Tayyip Erdoğan wants to commercialise education and some weeks ago, he tried to go to a university, Middle East Technical University. But the students of METU said that this prime minister is against people's fundamental rights, he tries to commercialise education and he is anti-democratic. That's why he souldn't be at universities because universities should be independent from political parties. The police attacked the students out of nowhere with thousands of police officers with gas bombs and beated students. A student got seriously hurt, almost dying, with a gas bomb hitting his head. Other students from all over the country protested against this situation. And all over the country, these students got into custody, the police broke into some of their houses and took them, lots of student almost got arrested because they protested against the Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdoğan. Even students who say that Turkish and Kurdish people are like sisters and brothers and there should be peace among them, are arrested today for months. This is the situation in Turkey; the current government makes people poor and arrests journalists, students and all other people who are against this.
In these times, it is important to fight against politicians who works against society's favor. That's why we fight against the AKP government and defend our rights against neoliberalism. And we are gathering together as the Student Collectives from all over the country. Lots of students from many cities and universities will be together and talk about what can be done. That's why we ask you to send us a video massage. We want to show it in this big general assembly of the Student Collectives. It will show us that there are other students around the world who fight for the same things and it will motivate us. It is very important for us so we are waiting your answer and video message.
Comradely,The Student Collectives
December 18, Ankara:
Students Clash with Riot Police in Protest against Visit of PM Erdoğan at MET University
The following message was sent in by activists on the ground:
Students demo in Ankara attacked by police – One Student in mortal danger
Demonstration against the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara. Clashes between protesters and the police for several hours. Result: Two heavily injured students and more than two dozen lightly-medium injured students.
«seller of science and imperialist war market-barker Tayyip get out of METU.»
In the afternoon and early evening of 18th December 2012 according to well-informed sources about 1000 students were protesting at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara, Turkey. The students were protesting against a visit by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at their university. Erdogan and his governmental-party AKP have been pushing forward the privatization and economization of higher education for years. The reason for the visit was the launch of the satellite «Goturk2» of the Turkish government and the Turkish military. The satelite has been shot into orbit on Monday 18th December at around 17:00 Turkish time. The launch was observed at METU by Erdogan, highrank military officials and their entourage through Live-Broadcasting.
The protest however was mainly directed against Erdogan and against the «national and international policies of the authority.» On the front banner it was written: «seller of science and imperialist war market-barker Tayyip get out of METU.»
The 1000 person strong demonstration started to walk at 15:50. At 16:15 the demonstration was attacked without further warning by the 3000 person strong police with rubber bullets, irritant gas and 8 water-canon-tanks. Two students were severely injured. One of them, Barış Barışık, is still in mortal danger. Dozens of other students have been injured during those clashes lasting several hours. Our sources were talking of at least 20. At 22:45 the police was shouting: «no more arrests just beat and leave them»
Following the protests police arrested 12 students after raiding university dorms in Istanbul. The Israel National News reports that during the demonstration itself five students were injured and 26 detained. "At least one student remains hospitalized in serious condition after being struck at close range with a pepper gas canister."
This video shows the demonstration and the clashes with the police.
Karthoum, December 2012:
Appeal for Tuition Fee Waiver followed
by State Repression leads to Student Uprising
- at least four Students Died
Students continued their protests in Khartoum (Sudan) on Monday, 10 December. Four Darfuri students from Gezira University were found in a canal in Wad Madani a day before.
Human Rights Watch reports in a press release:
The students were reported missing earlier in the week during protests over the university’s refusal to register Darfuri students unless they paid full tuition.
On December 2, national security officials entered the university and arrested 11 Darfuri students who had appealed to the administration for a fee waiver. In the following days, students protested at the university. Police, national security officers, and pro-government students clashed with the protesters.
Approximately 60 were arrested on December 5, according to Sudanese groups following the case. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said the government security forces pushed the protesters toward the canal, causing several students to fall in. Six protesters were reported missing, including the four whose bodies were later recovered from the canal. Two other students are still missing.
Khartoum's police force announced in a press statement issued late Sunday night that 47 people were arrested for 'attempted disturbance'. It was added that 'the students were blocking traffic and creating chaos and riots, in addition to damaging of public and private property, including a bus and a number of public transport vehicles'.
The statement said that the police is 'in control' of the situation 'without causing injuries among the protesters'.
However, the Darfur Student Organization rejected the police's statement and stressed that the National Congress Party (NCP) 'militia' and the police used excessive violence against the students. The spokesman of the organization added that a number of students were arrested and several injured after the first day of protests.
Injured student, Omda Mohamed Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga that government forces used excessive violence against the protesters on Sunday. He explained that security forces supported by Rabata, students supporting the NCP, attacked the demonstrators with teargas, batons and sticks, leaving several students, including him, injured. Suleiman added they had seen security forces arresting a number of students.
The second day of protests started from Neelain University where crowds of students gathered. Sources told Radio Dabanga that approximately four thousand students protested all over Khartoum.
It was reported that the security and police forces used excessive violence against the peaceful protesters; beating them with batons, spraying them with teargas and using live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
According to eye-witnesses, at least 60 students were injured in Monday's protests.
The National Commission for Human Rights expressed its concern about the violations which occurred during the student demonstrations in Khartoum and the subsequent student arrests on the International Day for Human Rights.
The Commission stressed in a statement issued on Monday that during the recent events a number of rights, which are included in the Sudanese constitution, were violated such as the right to life, the right to education and the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.
According to activists renewed clashes between students and police took place at the Islamic University in Omdurman on Tuesday, 11 December. Some say that the student dorms are on fire.
Furthermore they report on blottr.com that "over the weekend eight young students were killed by government forces attempting to dismantle protesters' roadblocks in Wau, in the state of Western Bahr el Ghazal."
From June through August of 2012, Sudanese security forces cracked down on a wave of student protests, sparked initially by austerity measures, in towns across Sudan.
videos of December 9th:
Dec.03, New York City:
Students Occupy Building to Resist Tuition Fees
The school has not made a decision on charging tuition for undergraduates. But in April, it decided to begin charging tuition to graduate students for the first time in its 110-year history. The school’s president, Jamshed Bharucha, said then that he was searching for ways to keep undergraduate education free for classes after the one entering in 2013.
To understand the context better, it helps to know that Cooper Union is a private college fully dependent on private donors and with around 1,000 students.
Cooper is considered to be one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States [...].
As a result, Cooper Union is one of the most selective colleges in the United States, with an acceptance rate generally below 10%, with both the art and architecture schools' acceptance rates often below 5%. Cooper Union experienced a 20% increase in applications for the 2008–2009 academic year, further lowering the acceptance rate.
The protesters released the following statements: