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Thousands of British Students Protest Tuition Hikes

British students protest in central London against government plans to triple tuition fees, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. Police with riot shields held off angry student protesters marching to London's Parliament Square on Thursday as lawmakers debated a contro

Police on horseback charged into crowds of angry British students demonstrating in central London on Thursday to protest university tuition hikes.

Lawmakers inside Parliament voted in favor of a controversial bill raising university fees in England, part of the government's larger austerity plan.

Government officials have said the increases, which triple the current fees, are necessary to maintain the high quality of education in universities.

Riot police wielding batons scuffled with some students in front of London's Houses of Parliament as they pushed up against a police barricade.

Students threw sticks at police and set off smoke bombs in front of the horses. Television coverage showed at least one demonstrator being handcuffed, and one police officer on the ground.

It was the latest in a series of student protests against the fee hike, which would raise the yearly bill to about $14,000.