A female student protests in Westminster after a bill was passed by the coalition government which will increase university fees by up to £9000.00 per year in London December 09 2010.This is the fifth student protest in the last month with escalating violence and protests across the country. UPI/Hugo Philpott | License Photo
LONDON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Thousands of young people protested Thursday in the streets of Westminster as the British Parliament passed a bill increasing university fees.
A Rolls-Royce carrying Prince Charles and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, to the London Palladium was splashed with paint and left with a cracked window, Sky News reported. The prince's office said the royal couple were not injured.
Witnesses said the couple were calm and unhurt when they entered the Palladium for the Royal Variety Show.
Nine police officers, including one who fell from his horse, were hurt during clashes with protesters.
The bill, which increases tuition to a maximum of 9,000 pounds ($14,139) per year, passed by a margin of 21 votes, far fewer than the governing coalition's majority of 84, The Guardian reported. Three ministerial aides -- two Liberal Democrats and one Conservative -- resigned their posts because of their opposition to the hike.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister, reversed course on a tuition increase after campaigning against it. A handful of Conservatives joined 21 Liberal Democrats in voting against the measure, while others abstained.
Supporters say the increase from the current maximum of 3,290 pounds ($5,183) will actually make university more affordable for students of modest means. In effect, the government loans students the money with repayments only required when their income reaches a certain level.