Enter your email address to stay in touch

Defining battle

Hundreds of thousands attend anti-austerity march
Hajera Blagg, Monday, June 22nd, 2015

A quarter of a million people turned out to protest the government’s austerity measures on Saturday (June 20) in central London, police figures estimated, with thousands more attending demonstrations up and down the country.



Organised by the People’s Assembly, the London demonstration kicked off at the Bank of England, where a mass coalition of anti-austerity groups gathered and marched to Parliament Square demanding the government end its attacks on public services and the living standards of working people.



Speakers at the demonstration included singer Charlotte Church, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, actress Julie Hesmondhaigh, anti-austerity MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, and writer Owen Jones. They were joined by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner.



Coaches from across the country brought in thousands of people to the London demonstration, many of whom had not participated in a march until now, just as the newly elected Tory government has pledged to continue with its austerity regime.



For Natalie Denny, an education working from Merseyside, the march was her first.



“I come from a single-parent household, and if it weren’t for public services and funding from the state, I wouldn’t have been able to get the education I did or find the job I did or have any of the opportunities I was given to set me on the right path,” Denny said, explaining her reasons for attending the march.



“A lot of young people are going to miss out on opportunities under austerity because their families don’t have the money to help them succeed,” Denny added. “And there are many really bright young minds out there that will go to waste.”



Addressing the sea of protestors at Parliament Square, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey urged them to continue the battle against austerity despite the Tories’ ascendancy to power in May.



“This is not the time for us to be downhearted or to be cowed,” he said. “A [Tory] majority in the House of Commons when 64 per cent of people voted against them will never legitimise the ravishing attacks on the disabled, the elderly, the sick, those in precarious work and those out of work.



“Let us be clear – the battle ahead will be a defining one for all of us,” he added. “The outcome will define not only our country, not only the lives we lead, the lives our children lead, but it will define the lives of generations to come.”



Speakers highlighted that Saturday’s march was only the beginning in what’s set to be a mass mobilisation of people opposing austerity. Dozens more People’s Assembly protests are planned, including a national day of action on July 8, when chancellor George Osborne announces an emergency budget.



Find out more here.


Related Articles