Thursday 22 May 2014
Protesting students have clashed with police at a Liberal event at Sydney University attended by Education Minister Christopher Pyne.
Dozens of students protesting against education budget cuts were waiting when Mr Pyne arrived at the university's St John's College on Thursday evening to adjudicate at a university Liberal Club debate.
Protesters tried unsuccessfully to get inside the building, some scuffling with police at the entrance and being pushed forcefully away as officers shouted at them to "get back".
The event took place a day after Mr Pyne and Prime Minister Tony Abbott cancelled a Deakin University appearance because of security concerns.
Vice-president of the University of Sydney Union and Greens member Tom Raue was with the crowd.
The 23-year-old said students were angry with the "appalling" budget and wanted to remind Liberals that the cuts would not go unnoticed by "working class and vulnerable people".
"Students are going to fight back against the budget and disrupt (Liberals) wherever they go," he told AAP.
He criticised police for being "quite violent" but acknowledged no arrests had been made.
The Sydney University Liberal Club condemned the "violent riot" in a statement on Facebook.
President Alex Dore blamed "extremist" students for interrupting the club's annual John Howard Debating Cup.
They had nothing better to do than to disrupt civil debate with their militant tactics, he said.
"The extreme left students chants of `Chris Pyne f*** you', `Pyne is a w***er' is offensive and has no place in civil society."
By 8.30pm, 15 protesters remained outside the college, waiting for Mr Pyne to come out while around 35 police were scattered around the building, guarding its exits.
Mr Pyne left the event in his Commonwealth car to chants of "shame" and "no cuts, no fees, no corporate universities".
Upper house NSW Liberal MP Peter Phelps, who attended the debate, said the protest was "pretty pathetic".
"When they can only get 40 or 50 people out the front with loudhailers, then it's a pretty sad state of affairs really," Dr Phelps told AAP.