Yesterday I was amongst more than a hundred thousand people marching through the streets of London in protest of the Coalition budget cuts. The austerity measures that have been put in place by the current government have brought misery to many and surely more to come. Even with the incredibly diverse turnout of people from all walks of life, ages, races and religions, translation services weren’t necessary for anyone to understand the message to be put across to David Cameron.
The march began at Embankment and trailed into Hyde Park over the course of many hours, culminating in a rally where we were addressed by a selection of speakers. The huge number of people taking part in the march meant that some only arrived at Hyde Park hours later as the rally was finishing. Ed Miliband was amongst those who spoke, talking of the hard decisions that Britain would face in the future. This of course wasn’t exactly what the audience wanted to hear and he received more than his fair share of booing. His honesty, however, didn’t go unnoticed and he was very clear of the differences in cuts that he believed the government should be making. He spoke of cuts being made too fast and too frequently, which definitely isn’t the answer to Britain’s problems.
During the organised march into Hyde Park only two arrests were made as we walked towards Trafalgar Square, a decision by the Met that was met with anger by the crowd who chanted, “shame on you”. The two young men in question were hauled out of the crowd and taken away.
There were many placards and signs on display throughout the day, mostly promoting the anti coalition agenda of the masses. Amongst my favourites there was a young boy holding a sign that read, ‘I’m too young to be this angry’, and the giant inflatable scissors with ‘education cuts never heal’ written across them.
As I made my way home down Oxford Street after the rally in Hyde Park, a sea of black suddenly surged through the streets and shoppers dashed to one side to avoid the fresh wave of angry protesters . Shops began to close their shutters as the figures dressed in black looked set to cause as much damage as they could. Police quickly sought to dispel the disruption and tried to rush shoppers and tourists away from the area and several arrests were made.