150,000 people descended on central London for the Trade Union Congress ‘March for a Future That Works’. It was called by the TUC, the umbrella organisation for 54 UK trade unions.

 

Photo: TUC

The march, which took place on the 20th October, brought together workers,  their children, community groups, activists, students and unemployed citizens from all over the country.
Politicians and Union officials joined the demonstration with Harriet Harman (‘Shadow Deputy Prime Minister’), tweeting to announce her presence.
The general secretary of Unison, Dave Prentice, told  reporters that he was attending because  he felt “this programme of austerity has to stop”.
The march was called as a “march of no-confidence” in the Coalitions 5-year austerity measures. There was also a sister demonstrations taking place in Glasgow and Belfast on the same day.
Demonstrators began assembling at 11AM on the Victoria Embankment and before beginning the marchers were met by a noisy student feeder march from the University of London Union.

 

As the demo kicked off, spirits were high and the march became lively – for the next few hours central London was filled with shouting, music and chants including a particularly choral rendition of : “Cameron, Clegg, on your bikes, what we need is a general strike!”
The auto-tune apology song which many students have frequented themselves with on YouTube, did not make an appearance.

 

The march route was tailored by Union leaders to ensure that as many people in the capital as possible were exposed to the demonstration.
The march went down the Embankment and past Westminster before proceeding on to Pall Mall – accompanied by the chant “Pay your taxes!” at many of the larger chains recently found out to have avoided substantial amounts of tax.
The rally was held in Hyde Park, where, in response to Andrew Mitchell’s ‘pleb’ outburst at a policeman, many demonstrators carried placards which read ‘the plebs have arrived’.
Mitchell wasn’t the only politician whom the thousands were unhappy with. Ed Miliband was booed during his speech at the closing rally when he announced to the crowd that “there would still be hard choices”, implying that Labour would still implement cuts to public services were they part of the current government.

 

During the rally, a group of disabled activists blocked the street in Park Lane by, in part, padlocking wheelchairs together.
It was reported that a small group of UK Uncut activists were thwarted by police in their attempts to carry out more direct action on Oxford Street.
Talk of similar demonstrations is already underway as the effects of austerity are causing Cameron’s “big society” to react negatively to the spending cuts being implemented.
Ed Miliband asserted that no contender for government can ignore there are tough decisions to be made by politicians – and even tougher changes to the people it will hit hardest.

 

 

Alaina Briggs

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