Student rally disrupted by hecklers

News Shopper: Demonstrators clash with police as they are prevented from going toward the Houses of Parliament during a student protest (AP) Demonstrators clash with police as they are prevented from going toward the Houses of Parliament during a student protest (AP)

A rally attended by thousands of students has been abandoned after a union leader was heckled and forced from the stage.

Students from across the country took part in the central London demonstration, despite the pouring rain, to protest against the tuition fee hike, debt and youth unemployment.

But after a generally peaceful march, a rally in south London was called off after a small number of activists disrupted the proceedings.

As the rally began, chants of "NUS, shame on you" could be heard, and National Union of Students (NUS) president Liam Burns appeared on stage in an attempt to quieten parts of the crowd.

Mr Burns later returned to address the rally, but was pelted with eggs and a satsuma.

Around 20 protesters then broke through the barriers and stormed the stage, forcing Mr Burns to leave.

The demonstration ended in farce shortly after 3pm, when the small band of activists climbed onto the stage.

One of the protesters, a bearded man wearing a black waterproof jacket and cap, grabbed the mike and attempted to address the crowd, but the mike was cut.

Earlier the NUS estimated 10,000 people had set off from Temple underground station, marched along the Embankment, past Parliament to Kennington Park, south of the Thames.

There had been brief scuffles at Parliament as a minority of protesters rushed police protecting Portcullis House, but otherwise the march had passed without incident.

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