Saturday, March 26, 2011

London march may be the biggest in history

Source: PressTV

The TUC-organized March for the Alternative in London enjoys the potential to demonstrate unity and solidarity among every member of Britain's labor movement.

Between 100,000 to 300,000 people are expected to turn out in the massive protests organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) today to show that they are united and determined to resist the coalition government's cuts program.

Tens of thousands of teachers, council staff, nurses, students, National Health Service (NHS) and other workers are scheduled to partake in the huge demonstration, which is the biggest public backlash against the government's spending cuts since it came to power after May 2010 general elections.

The protest march is the biggest union-organized march for more than 20 years and the largest in the country since the anti-Iraq war march in 2003.

Labour politicians including leader Ed Miliband will also be attending, as well as hundreds of radical activists intent on taking direct action.

A number of protesters have vowed to occupy Oxford Street and key buildings along the protest route.

Members of anti-cuts group UK Uncut have announced plans to target banks and stores in Oxford Street, as well as a "secret" location, which will be hit by a mass occupation. Other groups are planning to occupy Trafalgar Square overnight.

The TUC, which has been organizing the March for The Alternative for months, said it expected a huge turnout of people from communities across the country wanting to show their anger at the government's "deep, rapid and unfair" spending cuts.

The TUC's general secretary Brendan Barber expressed hope that the government learn lessons from the protest and reconsider its “damaging” policies.

“The government's wrong policies have already led to the threat of more than 170,000 job losses in local government, another 50,000 across other areas of the public sector, and cuts and closures of services ranging from libraries to youth clubs”, said Barber.

"The thousands of trade union members coming on Saturday from across the country, along with representatives of service users and countless other voluntary and community groups who oppose the cuts, know that the objective of this demonstration is to send a strong message to the government through our unity and a huge turn-out. I want nothing to distract from that”, added the TUC general secretary.

Around 4,500 police officers will be on duty, with the man in charge of the operation, Commander Bob Broadhurst, hopeful that the day will pass without major incident.

The police commander said his forces will use the controversial “kettling” tactic as a last resort.

"The issues will be with the fracture groups who might want to spoil the party”, said the police chief.

Liberty will have 100 legal observers monitoring the policing of the protest and there will be representatives from other human rights groups on hand to offer advice to demonstrators.

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