250,000 march in london to protest austerity
As the government announce £12 billion more cuts, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital to protest.
In the biggest display of public protest since the Stop The War march against the Iraq war in 2003, more than 250,000 people took to the streets of London on Saturday to march against the Conservative Government's programme of austerity.
As protestor and co-founder of the Brick Lane Debates Katya Nasim told us ahead of the march, "Austerity means cuts to public spending, the decimation of public services, cuts to unemployment and disability benefits, falling wages and pensions, and further privatisation."
The Government believe austerity will help the economy, but as the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says, "All of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited". World debt expert Susan George agrees, adding that "even the IMF [International Monetary Fund] is now saying, firmly but gently that austerity is not a good idea." As many of the placards at Saturday's demonstration read, essentially, austerity is a lie; a lie that makes society's most poor and vulnerably pay for the reckless gambles of the banks and major tax evasion, without any evidence that it will deliver the promised economic growth.
In reference to Labour's support of austerity (though at a much lower rate than the Conservatives), at the end of his Guardian polemic, Krugman asked, "If the political opposition won't challenge the coalition's bad economics, who will?" Saturday's march is certainly one answer. Police have estimated the number of protestors at 250,000, but they often give a very conservative figure; in 2003 they announced 750,000 at Stop The War, but it was widely reported that the figure was actually closer to 1 million.
Protesters including students, public service workers, women's rights activists and celebrities began marching at midday from the Bank of England, wending their way to Parliament Square, where there were speeches from Russell Brand, political commentator Owen Jones, anti-austerity Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, singer and activist Charlotte Church and many more.
Another anti-austerity march specifically to protest the Government's new "emergency budget" of £12 billion in cuts will be held from 5.30pm on 8 July outside Parliament.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Rosie Harriet Ellis