Thousands of activists from across the trade union and social movements march in London to fightback against the attacks on workers and to demand a general election
Westminster was brought to a standstill on Saturday by a brilliant People's Assembly demonstration demanding a general election and an immediate end to the Tory government. Despite the rain, the march wound around parliament and ended with a huge rally in Trafalgar Square. It was headed up by a contingent from the RMT and brought together unions, campaigning groups much of the left and thousands and thousands of people simply appalled at the callous behaviour of our unelected government.
There were housing activists, local NHS groups marching alongside nurses and doctors, an anti-war bloc, people campaigning against the pensions rip-off, anti-racism campaigners, Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion groups. There were big blocs of teachers with their NEU branch banners, civil servants who are balloting for strike action and university lecturers who have recently won their ballot for strikes.
A group of tenants and leaseholders from Newham came with their own banner on what was their first demonstration. They were protesting at the fact their housing situation has been ruined by unsafe cladding. Over a hundred people including college workers and climate campaigners came on two Peoples' Assembly coaches from Bristol. A group of eleven mothers from Margate campaigning against universal credit cuts were also marching for the first time and said they were 'really emotional' to see the size of the demonstration.
A group from Ipswich had had to make their own way to Colchester to get on a coach but they said it had been more than worth it. “This,” one of them said, “is what we have been waiting for – everyone coming together to show the government we are not going to be walked over.”
A tube worker in ASLEF said she was really proud to see so many people out: “with what is going on in the world at the moment you simply can't sit around and do nothing. This is a moment when we have to stand up and be counted, and I am so pleased to see people doing it.”
In Trafalgar Square, the day was capped off by a series of rousing speeches representing this ‘movement of movements’. Mick Lynch of the RMT got a expectedly huge reception, as did speakers from the UCU, CWU and others. Paula Peters of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) condemned the consistent victimising of disabled people which will only get worse as living costs soar.
The NEU’s Kevin Courtney asserted “the real reason for the social crisis is they have held our pay down wince 2010” and condemned the appalling situation of teachers, support staff. The Peoples’ Assembly’s John Rees stressed the tasks facing our movement and the maximum unity needed. Our numbers are huge, but crucially we also need organisation if we are to bring this government down.
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