Hundreds protest council budget and storm the council chamber

Posted: February 24, 2011 by lambethsaveourservices in Cutswatch, Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!, Labour Party
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Last night around 300 protesters lobbied Lambeth Councillors to vote against the Labour group budget. When security and police refused to allow members of the public into the galleries and overflow rooms a fight broke out in the council lobby and protestors stormed the council chamber.

The councillors fled to a secret room and voted through the budget, refusing to see the delegations from the community. Meanwhile in the council chamber Lambeth SOS chaired a people’s council where members of the community, anti-cuts movement and trade unions spoke about how the cuts will affect them and where the movement will go next.

After voting unanimously against the councils budget the occupiers decided to rejoin the remaining people locked outside where much of the press was waiting.

Last nights protest was featured on ITV news last night and made it into The Guardian, BBC News, This is Local London, Streatham Guardian, Socialist Worker, Evening Standard and many more.

Last nights protest was a huge success. Lambeth SOS  worked hard over the last few months working with community groups and local trade unions in Lambeth and the wider area. However this is just the beginning of fighting the cuts in Lambeth. Hiding in a room and voting for a budget is one thing but the council must now go about implementing these devastating cuts. When they do we will we be there with demonstrations, protests, strikes and occupations. The next step is come our next planning meeting on Thursday 3rd March at 6:30pm in the Vida Walsh centre in Brixton.

After agreeing to put 1000 of Lambert’s workers and their families on the dole and cut many vital services Lambeth Labour Party, including council leader Steve Reed decided to have a celebration in Brixton Bar and Grill, drinking and dancing the night away till 1am. If i had just voted through that budget i am not sure that’s the way I would want to be seen by the community.

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What was your experience of last nights protest? Let us know in the comments below.

More coverage coming soon…

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Comments
  1. Steve Reed unable to speak to the press – nice horn!

  2. Trying to be a part of local democracy – a door wont stop us!

  3. graham nicholls says:

    Brilliant display of ‘The real workers’ whilst the ‘Shirkers’ who’s support we should have got, ‘went away’ and ‘got away’ with ‘Murder most foul’ What a set of ‘Has Beens’ we voted in at the last election, we might as well have voted for the Con/Lib pact that we had previously, & now holds court at 10, Downing Street & Parliament. THey are so wrapped up in themselves, they couldn’t be bothered to get their own citizens back from Gaddaffi’s Libya, despite every other European parliament managing to do so. Maybe it was because of the ‘CUTS IN RAF aircraft & personnel ???
    Although we were sitting on the opposite side of the chamber to everyone else, (amongst the empty seats they refused to fill) both Ros Munday & myself (Graham Nicholls) ex chairs of Tenants Council, were present giving you eneqivecal support, along with members of the press, who also occupied that section. We even had Lambeth’s Press Officer telling us we were not allowed to take photographs, while the members were all clicking away from their mobiles, before leaving the chamber.
    One other point, as many of you know, I am a Charlton Athletic fan (for my sins) and we achieved a monumental victory by putting members up for election in every constituency in order to achieve a move back to our own ground, ‘THE VALLEY’ and we won. Would it not be possible to try & do the same , by putting an Independent Labour candidate forward against every councillor that stands for election next time round, & see what happens. After all, we don’t have any party worth voting for currently, whether you are a member or not !!
    The ideal people to lead us in such a quest would be Ted Knight & of course Kingsley, if they are willing. Whatever we do, let’s make sure it’s successful along wiyth the rest of the country !!! Today’s press tells the whole story, of a country for the rich, with the rest of us ‘Going to the Dogs’ unless something is done very soon.

    ‘POWER TO THE PEOPLE’ as per the ‘Tooting Popular Front’ (Blimey, I’m older than I thought !!!)

    • Elise says:

      “we don’t have any party worth voting for currently…” – actually we do. Greens across the UK are campaigning against the cuts, with fully costed alternatives at both Government level and on local Councils. Where I live, Green Councillors tabled a budget amendment that would have saved libraries, social care and more – shame on the other 3 parties for not supporting it: see http://www.greenoxford.com for more….

  4. lydia says:

    Brilliant night. Next thing is to escalate – a sustained occupation Wisconsin-style?

  5. Paris says:

    They tried to shephard us all into a small room far away from the council chamber where we could ‘listen’ to the debate. Rejecting this attempt to control dissent we managed to work our way up to the public gallery in time for the meeting to start. When we noticed that there were still a load of empty seats in the other gallery, and the public was locked out of the meeting we began demanding that all the viewing seats be filled with members of the public.

    The mayor began reading out a prepared statement about how difficult the meeting was, and that he would adjourn the meeting because of us, entirely failing to respond to our democratic demand that every seat be filled by a member of the public and that none who could be accommodated would be refused from their democratic right.

    At this point the mayor adjourned the meeting and the bewildered councillors, faced with the real anger of the community groups that will be affected by the cuts, filed out of the room as members of the public stormed through the front doors and into the council chamber. It then became apparent that the cowardly councillors were going to pass the cuts hidden away in some dark room, so our people’s assembly democratically elected a chair, heard from the delegations of affected community groups and voted to oppose the cuts they had passed and to committ to resisting their implementation.

  6. Nice blog post i found linking to us: http://nothingiseverlost.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/recent-highlights-from-the-struggle/

    “But perhaps the most remarkable feature is the spread of militant actions, sometimes even going as far as occupations, at town halls – Bristol, Southwark, Islington, Cambridge, Southampton, Leeds, Huddersfield, Lambeth (extensive set of pictures here) all deserve credit for their actions, and I’m sure we’ll see many more soon. Oh, and Nottingham Council workers are already on strike.”

  7. sceptical of council gatecrashers says:

    What’s the difference between a People’s Council and standard Lambeth Council? Is it that Lambeth Council is elected and your People’s Council was self-appointed?

  8. Student says:

    Congrats, amazing direct action take across the whole country! Inspiring and motivating – lets keep it up!