Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall react as their car is attacked Photo: AP
Tuition fees protesters attack car carrying Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall
A car carrying the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall has been attacked by protesters amid worsening violence that has followed victory for the Government in the crucial tuition fees vote.
Telegraph | Dec 9, 2010
Prince Charles and the Duchess were unharmed as the window of their Rolls Royce was smashed and the car covered in paint.
An eyewitness said the car became separated from their police escort as they drove up Regent Street towards the London Palladium, and found themselves in the midst of crowds who had just left the protest in Trafalgar Square. Protesters bombarded the car with bottles and bins.
When the royal couple arrived at the London Palladium they appeared relaxed and smiled and joked with Kylie Minogue, Take That and N-Dubz, some of the acts performing for them.
Another vehicle, which had been travelling behind the royal car, also had a cracked window, but its occupants, who work for the couple, were also unharmed.
There was a heavy police presence around the entrance to the Palladium on Oxford Circus.
A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that their Royal Highnesses’ car was attacked by the protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium this evening.
“Both their Royal Highnesses were unharmed.”
Scotland Yard condemned the “outrageous and increasing levels of violence” tonight.
A spokesman said: “This has nothing to do with peaceful protest. Students are involved in wanton vandalism, including smashing windows in Oxford and Regent Streets.
“Innocent Christmas shoppers are being caught up in the violence and disruption.
“It has gone so far that a car in which the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were travelling through the West End was attacked. Police managed the situation and they were unharmed.”
The spokesman said 38 protesters and 10 officers have been injured. Six officers required hospital treatment and four suffered minor injuries.
MPs voted 323 votes to 302, a majority of 21 in favour of the motion despite vocal opposition from some Liberal Democrats and a handful of Tory MPs.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said he was “proud” of the Government’s package, which will allow English universities to treble fees from 2012.
Mr Cable, a Liberal Democrat, insisted the plan was “progressive” and would “maintain high quality universities in the long term”.
Flanked by David Cameron, the Prime Minister and his deputy, Nick Clegg, Mr Cable faced angry cries from Labour backbenchers as he insisted the plans were “more progressive”.
He said: “I don’t pretend, none of us pretend, that this is an easy subject. Of course it isn’t. We have had to make very difficult choices.
“We could have made a decision to drastically cut the number of university students, we could have cut student maintenance, we could have cut the funding to universities without replacing it.
“But instead we have opted for a set of policies that provides a strong base for university funding, which makes a major contribution to reducing the deficit and introducing a significantly more progressive system of graduate payments than we inherited.”
Faced with barracking which forced Speaker John Bercow to urge MPs to give the minister a “fair hearing”, Mr Cable added: “I am proud to put forward that measure to this House.”
John Denham, the shadow business secretary, said fees were being trebled “simply to reduce the 80 per cent cut in the funding of university teaching – not to raise extra money”.
He told MPs: “Most graduates will be asked not to pay something towards their education, but to pay the entire cost of their university education.”
Ahead of the vote protesters hurled flares, sticks, snooker balls and paint balls at officers as they attempted to break through metal barriers.
Wooden benches in Parliament Square were set on fire, with two demonstrators seen standing on top of the bonfire, watched by cheering protesters.
Senior officers said that a “containment” operation had been put in place “due to the level of violence”.
Up to 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers cut off all roads to Parliament Square to keep protesters at a distance.
Superintendent Julia Pendry has said that police were attempting to keep protesters away from the gates of Parliament itself.
“Protesters will be allowed sight and sound of parliament,” she said. “However, there is evidence to suggest a number of people will come to London intent on causing violence and disorder. They are jumping on the bandwagon of these demonstrations with no intention to protest or interest in student tuition fees. This is of concern to us.
“Those who come to London for peaceful protest will be policed proportionately and appropriately. But those who are intent on committing crime will also be dealt with and they will suffer the consequences of their actions.”