Tagged: Trafalgar Square

Anti-Austerity Protests: Tens Of Thousands Rally Across UK

Forty-four days after David Cameron gained an unexpected majority on a dramatic general election night, opposition parties are still picking themselves up from the floor. But on the streets of Britain, tens of thousands of people took up their placards and filled the streets of London, Glasgow and elsewhere for the first major protest against the government’s plans for five more years of austerity.

Estimates of the size of the rally in central London on Saturday varied between 70,000 and more than 150,000; in Glasgow’s George Square several thousand gathered and there were smaller demonstrations reported in other cities, including Liverpool and Bristol.

“We’re here to say austerity isn’t working,” said Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, to great applause from the crowds in Parliament Square at the end of the march. “We’re here to say that it wasn’t people on Jobseekers’ Allowance that brought down the banks.

“It wasn’t nurses and teachers and firefighters who were recklessly gambling on international markets. And so we should stop the policies that are making them pay for a crisis that wasn’t there making.”

Marching under the banner End Austerity Now, protesters denounced public sector cuts, the treatment of the disabled and the vulnerable through welfare cuts, the privatisation of the NHS.

Teachers, nurses, lawyers and union groups marched under their own banners. Chants and songs demanded an end to Tory government, equality and more help for the poor. A sprinkling of celebrity faces – Russell Brand, Charlotte Church and actor Richard Coyle – were among the crowd.

The deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, told the rally:

“It is David Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires – they are the people who are the real spongers. They are the people who are given free rein to live out their Thatcherite fantasies at the expense of ordinary, decent communities throughout these islands.”

Protesters set off from outside the Bank of England, and by the time the march reached Westminster – its final destination – a sea of banners, placards and flags stretched for more than a mile down Whitehall and past Trafalgar Square.

Full story :  http://northstar.boards.net/thread/108/anti-austerity-protests-thousands-rally

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New ‘Jarrow March’ reaches London

The People's March for the NHS

A group of north east mothers and other campaigners who staged a modern-day ‘Jarrow March’ to protest at the privatisation of health services arrived in London at the weekend.

The People’s March, which followed in the footsteps of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, began in mid-August.

After leaving Jarrow, the protest took in more than 20 towns and cities, with union activists and other supporters joining the six women from Darlington.

Organisers said 5,000 people took part in the last leg from Red Lion Square in Holborn to Trafalgar Square, where they were addressed by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Mr Burnham said the “Darlo mums” symbolise the concern felt by millions across the UK for the future of the NHS.

He said:

“Surely even the great Nye Bevan couldn’t have imagined a group with more faith and fight for his NHS than these Darlington mums.

“In them, David Cameron has more than met his match and their fighting spirit will give hope to people everywhere that the NHS can be rescued from the damage caused by his Government.”

A Department of Health spokesman said:

“Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only six per cent of the total NHS budget – an increase of just 1% since May 2010.

“Charities, social enterprises and other healthcare providers continue to play an important role for the NHS, as they have done for many years – however, it is now local doctors and nurses who make decisions about who is best placed to provide care for their patients.”

Source –  Shields Gazette,  08 Sept 2014

Self-organised claimant resistance to Atos: a success story for our time

Cautiously pessimistic

An assessment centre closed by protests in Archway, North London

This week saw an important and encouraging development in the ongoing resistance to welfare reforms and austerity: a national day of action, largely organised by claimants themselves with little input from any larger permanent organisation, was successful in provoking Atos, the unpopular “healthcare” company that assesses disability benefits, into announcing their intention to pull out of the Work Capacity Assessment. Given the generally poor state of the class struggle at the moment, a win on this scale is a rare thing, definitely worth taking notice of. Apart from anything else, it’s worth examining the claimant-led protests against Atos just to see how far they differ from business as usual on the left.

The anti-Atos protests – which probably reached their high point in Southend, where Atos staff apparently walked out and joined the protestors, but also managed to close a number of other offices including Wimbledon –  lack a…

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