It’s one o’clock in the afternooon in London as I write this — eight in the morning in New York — and a parliamentary vote is expected within hours on the British government’s unprecedented proposal to raise tuition fees at UK universities to as high as £9000 (more than $14000) a year.
The plan has drawn massive protests throughout Britain over the last month, and more are already underway today. The country’s governing coalition, led by the Conservative Party and joined by the Liberal Democrats, has an 80-vote majority in the House of Commons, but announced defections and abstentions have already considerably reduced that margin on this vote.
1:10 pm London Time | Tonight’s Commons vote is scheduled for 5:25 pm — just after noon on the US East Coast.
4:00 pm | Huge protests in London, many reports police violence. Police on horses have rushed crowds, protesters have been beaten. Growing reports of protesters responding with violence of their own. Protesters are being “kettled” — confined to a closed location by police without charges. One officer is said to have been knocked from his horse and injured.
4:05 pm | Twitter hashtags #dayx3 and #demo2010 seem to be being used about equally, often in combination. Check out either or both for breaking news, including reports from the scene of today’s various protests.
5:00 pm | BBC is reporting seven arrests so far, 19 people treated for injuries by medical workers on the scene of the protests. Six of the 19 were taken to hospital.
5:30 pm | Parliament voting now. Results in a few minutes.
5:45 pm | The proposal passed 323-302. With 650 seats in parliament, that means abstentions and no-votes carried the day for the government.
10:30 pm | Police are still kettling protesters — confining them behind barricades and refusing to let them leave the area.