Carnegie Library placard Placard against the closure of Carnegie Library in Brixton. Photo: Lucy Angell John

There was a carnival atmosphere outside the occupation of Carnegie Library today, reports Dave Randall 

This morning in South London over a thousand local residents greeted the librarians and library users who have been in occupation to save Lambeth’s libraries.

Determination to overturn Lambeth Council’s plans to close or sell off the libraries was illustrated with songs, poems, balloons and banners – many of them hand made by local children who joined the demonstration in their hundreds.

Grinning toddlers led chants including ‘Save Our Libraries’ and ‘We Love Books’ as the crowds moved through the streets towards Minet Library – also threatened with partial closure.

As more local residents joined the march, leaders decided to diverge from the route expected by police and defiantly took over Brixton Road eliciting hoots of support from traffic coming the other way. The centre of Brixton was soon brought to a standstill as Saturday shoppers filmed the scene on phones and applauded.

The final rally in Windrush Square was addressed by trade unionists from Unite and Unison, as well as a delegation of Junior Doctors who brought messages of solidarity and received huge support.

That the mounting pressure is being felt by Lambeth Council could be seen when Rachel Heywood, Labour councillor for Coldharbour ward, broke ranks to voice her support for the protestors. A belated gesture perhaps, but also an indication of the how dam could burst as resistance to cuts in jobs and services grows.

Dave Randall

Dave Randall is a musician and author of Sound System: The Political Power of Music

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