British workers to march against spending cuts backlash

The Government will face the biggest public backlash against its spending cuts since it came to power when tens of thousands of workers stage a demonstration today.

Up to a quarter of a million people are expected to join the protest in London – the biggest union-organised event for more than 20 years and the largest in the country since the anti-Iraq war march in 2003.

More than 4,500 police officers will be on duty for the demonstration dubbed the “March for the Alternative”, which has been organised by the Trade Union Congress.

TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “It looks set to be a huge, united and good-natured event, giving all those who want to oppose the government’s deep, rapid and unfair spending cuts the opportunity to speak out.”

Labour politicians including leader Ed Miliband will take part, as well as officials from trade unions, community groups, student and pensioner organisations, and a number of activists planning to take direct action.

Banks and stores in Oxford Street will be targeted by anti-cuts group UK Uncut, as well as a “secret” location, which will be hit by protesters.

More than 600 coaches and dozens of trains have been hired to bring people to the capital, with many unable to get to London because of the massive demand for transport.

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, said those taking part in the march were the “tip of the iceberg” because millions were opposed to the Government’s cuts in public spending.

“There is growing anger, which will build and build as the impact of the cuts take effect,” said Mr McCluskey, who warned of more demonstrations and possible co-ordinated strikes in the coming months.

A new opinion poll has suggested that most people sympathise with the TUC’s stance.

Asked by YouGov whether they supported or opposed today’s march, 52% said they supported it, 31% opposed it, while 17% said they did not know.

Perhaps surprisingly, 19% of Conservative voters said they supported the march.

Today’s police operation will be closely scrutinised after criticism of the handling of recent demonstrations.

When student protests turned violent before Christmas, the policy of kettling – or containing protesters in a confined space to stop trouble spreading – was called into question.

But Westminster Council has said it is not anticipating trouble and visitors should not be deterred.

The march comes three days after the Budget, in which the Chancellor underlined the Government’s determination to tackle the deficit.

With public sector cuts only now just starting to bite, it could be the first of many.
Source: Aky News

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