As David Cameron unveiled new policies to attack the poor, decimate the welfare state and further the rampant inequality in British society, tens of thousands of trade unionists and students demonstrated on the streets of Manchester.
The demonstration – called by the Trade Union Congress and populated heavily by Northern trade unionists – took place just one day after both the Europe Against Austerity conference in central London and the Scottish TUC march, prompting some to term the two days a ‘weekend of resistance’.
“It was a good day – there were more than 35, 000 of us there and the student block in particular was really lively, noisy and vibrant,” says Pete Ramand, a Coalition of Resistance activist from Glasgow. “When we passed the conference centre itself, people stopped and blocked the road, letting off flares and chanting”.
Banners on the march read ‘Feral Underclass Against the Tories’, and the famous University of London ‘Book Block’ – a group who produce enormous papier mache books to protest education cuts – were in attendance. It was evident that the government response to the recent riots and the impact of swingeing education cuts were at the forefront of participants’ minds.
With co-ordinated public sector strikes planned for the 30th November, the ‘Weekend of Resistance’ was an essential and inspiring move, argues Sam Fairbairn, Counterfire activist. “This weekend", he says, "is the first step on the road that ends with millions of workers on strike, mass demonstrations involving the elderly, unemployed, students and the private sector workers not being balloted for strike action, and widespread occupations and sit-ins.”
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