Banned anti-austerity demonstration in London went ahead

This video says about itself:

Tens of thousands attend anti-austerity protest in London

20 June 2015

Tens of thousands of protesters march through central London to demonstrate against the newly re-elected Conservative government‘s plans for public spending cuts.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Hundreds join budget-day anti-austerity protest despite ban

Jeremy Corbyn and Natalie Bennett among speakers at Austerity Kills event featuring mass ‘die in’ on Parliament Square

Peter Walker

Wednesday 8 July 2015 19.19 BST

Hundreds of anti-austerity protesters have gathered in Parliament Square in London, defying an official ban on their protest to argue that George Osborne’s budget will perpetuate a divisive and unfair economic policy.

Organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, a loose coalition of activist groups and trade unions, the event on Wednesday evening, called Austerity Kills, featured a mass “die in” by protesters who lay on the grass of the square and the release of dozens of black helium-filled balloons.

Speakers addressing the crowd included the Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green party, and representatives from trade unions, environmental groups and the London branch of Greece’s ruling party Syriza.

The police presence was generally low key, despite the fact that the event was taking place without the permission of Westminster council, a necessity under laws limiting protests near parliament. The same laws meant the speakers were unable to use amplification and had to shout above the traffic noise.

The protest had been generally good natured and was slowly winding down when police intervened to confiscate speakers being used to play Greek music, to which a handful of activists were dancing arm in arm.

Dozens of angered protesters marched into the road, blocking traffic. There they were penned in by mounted police amid an uneasy standoff.

Sam Fairbairn, from the People’s Assembly, said the group had negotiated with the council, but to no avail. “We met with police yesterday and they said that if the council instructs them to, they may well press charges against me, as the organiser of the protest,” he said.

What a shame that in London today the Conservative party establishment bans demonstrations against its policies … while this very week neo-nazis could have a legal anti-Semitic demonstration in the same London ‘against Jewification’.

Placards on show demonstrated the various allegiances of those taking part, including Stop the War and Socialist Workers.

Graham Bash, a long-time Labour activist, was busy handing out leaflets encouraging people to sign up to the party so they could vote for Corbyn to become leader. “He can win,” Bash said. “If any of the others win it won’t really be the Labour party any more. He’s the real face of Labour.”

Bash explained why he had decided to join the protest. “It’s the first fully Conservative budget for 19 years, even though the last five years have been mainly Conservative. I’ve been a Labour member for 46 years and this government is as bad as any I can remember,” he said.

Some placards carried the slogan “63% did not vote for this budget”, a reference to the share of the vote in May that carried David Cameron’s government to a majority. Fairbairn reiterated this point: “If you look at the number of people who didn’t vote because Westminster politics didn’t connect with them at all, that’s millions of people.

“Since when have people not been able to protest against what their government is doing? If you go down the route of thinking, now they’ve got a slim majority in parliament it means they face no opposition, that’s a very dangerous situation. Protest has always formed an important part of democracy in Britain.”

He added: “Austerity hasn’t been working. It didn’t lead to a recovery – last year the deficit actually rose. We don’t think austerity is going to help, it runs the risk of forcing us back into recession, and it’s only going to hurt the poorest in society.”

6 thoughts on “Banned anti-austerity demonstration in London went ahead

  1. Disabled activists arrested during peaceful Westminster protest

    DISABLED activists were dragged by police officers and arrested outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday afternoon after a series of peaceful protest actions against George Osborne’s “emergency” Budget.

    A coalition of campaigners led by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) stopped traffic around Westminster as they targeted several government buildings, including Downing Street.

    More than 50 campaigners, including several wheelchair users, marched down Whitehall and blocked Westminster Bridge after filling the gates of Downing Street with hundreds of rubber balls.

    Each ball carried a message from protesters to the Chancellor, one reading: “Blood on Tory hands.”

    The four arrests took place when protesters decided to block the House of Commons car park exit hoping to speak to Mr Osborne.

    Among those arrested was soup kitchens network Streets Kitchen founder Jon Glackin and DPAC spokesman Andy Greene, who had to be taken to the police station in a special vehicle for wheelchair users.

    Ahead of his arrest Mr Greene entreated protesters not to accept “permanent austerity” and “permanent prosperity for the 1 per cent.”

    He said: “Right across the board we have seen unprecedented and unrelenting assaults on public services, public-service workers and those of us who make up the 99 per cent.

    “There’s no mandate for the actions carried out in this Budget today, there is no mandate for this government, despite what it tells you.

    “There is no mandate for austerity, there is no justifying the cuts.

    “Today what we are saying is we want a different future — we don’t want permanent austerity, we don’t want permanent prosperity for the 1 per cent, we want them held to account.

    “We want them to stop taking public money, we want them to start putting back into the public purse.”

    Like many of the other groups, DPAC looked at recent events in Greece as inspiration for the day’s protest.

    As in Greece, Mr Greene said: “We are not taking this debt on our shoulders any more.

    “You are not breaking the back of the poor to carry around the 1 per cent.”

    The People’s Assembly Against Austerity also held demonstrations and rallies in London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, protesting against the Budget.

    The Star revealed on Tuesday that People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn had been threatened with arrest by Met police officers if he took part.


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