The streets of London filled with people furious with the assaults on workers from the government today. And class anger ran through the 200,000 strong demonstration.
Many marchers delighted in yesterday’s resignation of Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell after he called a cop a “pleb”. Everywhere people carried placards declaring themselves “plebs” against the Tories.
The anger also broke through when members of Disabled People Against Cuts occupied the road at Marble Arch at the end of the demo, blocking the way in to plush Park Lane.
Over 150,000 marched in London according to the TUC. The Scottish TUC said that over 10,000 marched through Glasgow, while up 10,000 marched through Belfast, according to Northern Ireland ICTU.
On all the protests the battalions of organised labour came out in strength. Seas of union banners, placards and balloons made a vibrant display. The Unison contingent filled Whitehall. The Unite union contingent was at least 10,000 strong.
Union leaders were received well when they talked of taking action against the coalition government. Many workers rightly believe we need a general strike.
This government is in a first class crisis. But that doesn’t mean it will stop its attacks. There was some frustration on the march that union leaders had walked away from the battlefield after the brilliant pensions strike on 30 November last year.
The potential for a real challenge to the Tories was there for all to see on the streets of London today. But that potential needs turning into reality. And we have to move faster than the pace of the union leaders. That means getting organised and pushing for coordinated action—now.
The front of the London march sets off from Embankment.