Students protest HECS increases – 31 March

This was part of a Student National Day of Action (see reports in Green Left Weekly and especially the feature and related posts on Melbourne Indymedia. After speeches at the State Library protesters marched to the RMIT administration building at the corner of LaTrobe and Russell Streets and a number forced their way in, occupying the Vice-Chancellor’s office for several hours. On the way they encountered a counter-demonstration from supporters/admirers of the Minister, Brendan Nelson, and the corporate media were able to record some minor scuffles. At one point a placard was burned.

Main banner at State Library

Part of the rally at the State Library

Queer bloc banner:  Education is Freedom

The ‘Queer bloc’ were prominent in this, as in subsequent protests against attacks on student unions

Brendan Nelson as Minister for Higher Execution

One view of the Minister

Protesters with grossly mis-spelled placards

Before the march

Pro-Nelson placard in march

On the march – the person in the blue hat has apparently doctored a Resistance placard to reverse its message

Group of Nelson admirers at street corner

Fans of the Minister

Anti-Nelson banner

Another point of view

Police without name tags

Some of the police in waiting preferred to remain anonymous

Scuffle around pro-Nelson group outside RMIT building

Media scrum around Nelson supporters

Pushing towards the entrance

Protesters at the entrance

Pushing towards the entrance - 2

The same

Banner at side entrance: Don't be Shy, Occupy!

Message at side entrance

Protesters in the foyer

In the foyer

Burning pro-Nelson placard

A placard gets burned

Police leaving the scene

Police withdraw. They returned about 10pm to end the sit-in by force