LONDON – More than 100,000 protesters Saturday marched through central London to campaign against the Conservative government as part of a “Not One Day More” protest, according to organizing body the People’s Assembly.
The protest began outside BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place before moving on towards Parliament Square to hear a number of speakers including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Protesters arrived with banners branding messages of defiance against austerity and the Tory Party such as “Austerity kills” and “Kick the Tories out”, and people could be heard chanting “Not one day more” as the crowd moved through the streets of the Britain’s capital.
Speaking to the crowds in Parliament Square, Mr. Corbyn rounded on the Tories for this week raising hopes the public sector pay cap would be lifted before later dampening expectations by voting against a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech to scrap the 1 per cent ceiling imposed by George Osborne in 2012.
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“I say to any public sector workers in Northern Ireland or anywhere else – don’t have any illusions in these people, when they started the austerity program they meant it and they meant it to carry on,” he said in front of thousands of people.
Alongside Mr. Corbyn, Labour figures including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott as well as Unite union boss Len McCluskey and writer Owen Jones were among those speaking at the demonstration.
Musicians including DJ Shy FX, north London rock band Wolf Alice and singer Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly performed at the rally, which was widely publicized by demonstrators using the hashtag #notonedaymore on Twitter.
Anger was expressed over the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 80 people two weeks ago, with many people chanting “Justice for Grenfell” and making a connection between public service cuts and the fatal blaze.
A minute of silence for the victims of Grenfell Tower and a minute of applause for the emergency services were held during the protest, and there was a strong police presence, with some of the roads around the square closed to traffic.