Welwyn Garden City snapper captures London student riot shots

PUBLISHED: 15:53 21 December 2010

Protesters torch benches (Picture: Andrew Cowper)

Protesters torch benches (Picture: Andrew Cowper)

Archant

"IDIOTS" who "ruined" a peaceful protest against hikes in tuition fees have been blasted this week by a budding snapper, who captured striking images of the riots.

A yob urinates against HM Treasury (Picture: Andrew Cowper)

Andrew Cowper, 22, who lives in WGC’s Peartree area, went to the protests in central London to peacefully demonstrate against the vote on trebling tuition fees.

But he said the students’ case was undermined, and the event marred by “opportunist” infiltrators, with a vendetta against the Government and the police.

Andrew, who is set to go to university next year, snapped pictures of rampaging mobs torching benches, setting portable toilets alight, urinating against HM Treasury, dismantling traffic lights and attacking police with metal fences.

His vivid images, from December 9 when the Government won the vote to increase fees, also include obscene graffiti daubed on public property and balaclava-clad activists with placards set ablaze.

Protesters torch benches in Parliament Square (Picture: Andrew Cowper)

Andrew told the WHT: “I went to a peaceful protest, but it was ruined by these idiots, who I don’t think were students.

“There was a group of opportunists that has a grudge against Government or the police, and in a protest they can get away with things they wouldn’t be able to get away with otherwise.”

While critical of the hardcore element of protesters, Andrew also slammed the police’s controversial kettling tactic, where crowds are kept corralled in a space for hours until the ‘sting’ is gone from any protests.

Andrew spoke of injured and ill people being forced to stay and medics being sent in to treat them.

He said he was held up in the cordon too and peaceful protesters were treated no differently from the violent thugs, which marred the protest.

“The vote finished at about 5.30pm but I didn’t get to leave until about 11.30pm,” he said.

He added: “They were treating everyone in there as animals, like sheep.”

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