Anti-austerity march brings 150,000 people through central London
Over a hundred and fifty thousand people took part to yesterday’s anti-austerity march through central London.
According to Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, this large participation showed once more the unpopularity of the cuts campaign undertaken by the coalition.
He said: “The evidence is mounting that austerity is failing. More than 2.5 million people are out of work, a further three million are not working enough hours to make ends meet, and wages have been falling every month for the last three years.“
Firefighters, nurses and teachers were marching alongside unemployed youngsters through Whitehall towards Hyde Park blowing whistles and carrying a variety of banners reading: “Cameron Has Butchered Britain”, “24 Hour General Strike Now” and “No Cuts”.
The crowd booed at Downing Street and shouted “pay your taxes,” passing by Starbucks coffee shop. Fortunately no incidents were reported.
Unison Leader Dave Prentis mentioned the hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs lost and said: “We are fighting for a better future. We are not here today for the millionaires – we are here for the millions of people who don’t have a voice. We just can’t take any more.”
Yesterday’s protest also saw a large participation from people from the North who were brought to London in more than 250 coaches and a TUC-chartered train.
Ed Miliband speaking at a rally in Hyde Park at the end of the protest said his party was standing for “all the young people in this country who want work, but can’t find it in Britain today”.
When he started his speech he reminded the audience that whoever would have been in government would have made some cuts but then added: “This government has shown that cutting too far and too fast, self-defeating austerity is not the answer, it is not the answer to Britain’s problems.”
The crowd cheered when Mr Miliband mentioned what happened to Chancellor George Osborne who had to pay for an upgrade after sitting in a first class carriage with a standard ticket. The Labour leader was cheered again when speaking about chief whip Mitchell’s resignation after swearing at police officers calling them “plebs”.
Mr Miliband added: “Andrew Mitchell may have resigned, but the culture of two nations runs right across this government. […] They cut taxes for millionaires and they raise taxes for ordinary families.”
Yesterday’s anti-austerity protest ended without any major incidents and rallied more than 150,000 people, according to TUC organizers while the Met Police has not released an official figures yet. This compares to the March 2011 anti-cuts’ protest attendance of over 250,000 campaigners.
Photo: Rowan Gillette- Fussell