A demonstrator is carried away by medics during a protest in Westminster in central London December 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth) The following is from The Guardian. My Dad just sent it to me, the boy in hospital is one of the University he works at's students. I cannot express how sick this makes me feel right now. My thoughts are with Alfie and his family. Get better dude.
A 20-year-old student underwent a three-hour operation to treat bleeding on the brain last night after being hit on the head by a police truncheon, according to his mother.
Alfie Meadows is said to have fallen unconscious on the way to hospital after being struck as he tried to leave an area outside Westminster Abbey during the tuition fee protests in central London. The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Meadows was among 43 protesters and six police offices who were taken to hospital for injuries. Another six officers had minor injuries.
Susan Meadows, 55, an English literature lecturer at Roehampton University, said her son was "hit on the head by a police truncheon. He said it was the hugest blow he ever felt in his life.
"The surface wound wasn't very big but three hours after the blow, he suffered bleeding to the brain. He survived the operation and he's in the recovery room."
Alfie, a second-year philosophy student at Middlesex University, had been with friends and trying to leave an area in which they were being kettled, said his mother, who had been at another part of the protest. He phoned her to say he said he had been hit on the head and was bleeding, she added.
"I got out of the kettle, met him and he told me all about it. He knew he had to go to hospital but he didn't initially know how bad it was. The policeman offered to get him an ambulance but he was in shock and didn't know how serious it was."
His mother, who stayed up all night with her son, said he was taken to hospital after his condition deteriorated. "The wonderful news is that Alfie is talking and doing very well.
"But he's got tubes coming out of him everywhere. He will be in hospital for quite a while, it was a very major thing.
She said she felt "very strongly" about the police behaviour, adding: "It's part of a pattern of the way in which these events are being policed.
"Alfie said to me before this happened 'Somebody is going to get killed'. It's very frightening."
The Metropolitan police said: "We are aware of a 20-year-old male with a head injury who is currently in hospital. The IPCC has been involved."
News of the injury came as the National Union of Students condemned the violence but insisted demonstrations would continue. "Peaceful protest is an important part of democracy and NUS will continue to organise such actions where student voices are being ignored by the government," said its president, Aaron Porter. "We have consistently worked with the police to try to ensure the safety of protesters and the public at demonstrations. Violent demonstration is deplorable and counter-productive. We will continue to condemn it in the strongest possible way."
Jacqui Karn, an urban safety and policing expert, thought there had to be a re-examination of police tactics.
"The big question is how you can use police on horseback charging across when there are 14- and 15-year-olds in there," said Karn, who was among those kettled for more than six hours in Whitehall yesterday.
"There were troublemakers there and they were quite alarming but there were people trying to get out who were doing nothing. I feel my rights were completely contravened."
Although not a specialist in policing protests, Karn added: "There were quite a number of officers who said they did not agree with senior officers' tactics."
The NUS said it did not organise the protest outside parliament, having organised a rally on Victoria Embankment and a lobby of MPs. The protest in Parliament Square came at the end of a march by the University of London students' union.