Posts Tagged ‘26 March’

LAWA reports on 26th March

Posted: April 4, 2011 by blackdaffodil in Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!
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Crossing Westminster Bridge, the police had to open a passage to the march:
[originally posted in Spanish on the Latin American Workers Association’s website, their press release from last week follows the post]

The Latin American coalition against the cuts (Colacor) marched together with the anti-cut organizations of South London.

We had planned to leave Kennington Park, passing through North Lambeth towards Waterloo bridge to meet up with the main march at Embankment. But in North Lambeth, as there was nothing to keep us from crossing Westminster Bridge, we decided to take that route. As we walked we were able to see that in the middle of Westminster Bridge there was a police cordon and police cars on the bridge to keep the march from passing.

When I saw so many police in front of us in the distance seemingly ready to stop us, it made me afraid as I’m sure it it did other compañeros who were in the front with me. One compañero asked me what’s going on? How are we going to get past? Although I was afraid of what could happen I answered, “nothing will happen, they will leave or if not we will go another way”, the man grew calmer and we did not stop  shouting chants and making noise with the horns we carried.


March 26th: The Big Beginning

Posted: March 27, 2011 by blackdaffodil in Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!
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Yesterday was absolutely brilliant, was it not? I was still bouncing up and down when a handful of us arrived at the Westminster Arms to toast the day with the some of the folks from the Bakerloo RMT branch. We only heard last meeting that they’d affiliated to Lambeth SOS, so it was grand to get to know some of them better. But that’s jumping ahead, so back to the beginning.

The South London feeder was a tremendous success, for all the trials and tribulations and lack of democratic process over the final route. The police reported we had 5,000 people there, so you know that we had more. I’m going to miss people from this list because there were so many groups there, so apologies! Southwark SOS, Lewisham Anticuts Alliance, BARAC, Colacor, all the South London union branches, pensioners, teachers, No Cuts for Kids…and more. Amazing.

What else did we have? The best trojan horse I have ever seen, labeled the TUC Armed Wing. Ha! It was a stallion actually, as Ali swears it was anatomically correct. I’m just sorry, as I know you are, that I can’t provide photographic proof.

I hope you caught some of the activist art on the billboards along the way, I loved the one transformed into a giant legal bust card, (you can see the one featuring David Cameron here); some one has been doing some good work!

The decision to head over Westminster Bridge rather than Blackfriars was a really good one; we had no trouble at all, and we could see the hundreds of thousands of people slowly moving towards Hyde Park.

I was holding the other end of this Colacor (Latin American Colation Against the Cuts) banner for much of the way with a companero from the Latin American Workers’ Association, and originator of my favourite chant of the day: Esto no es marcha, esto es protesta, carajo! (roughly this is not a march, it is a protest damn it). As you can see, the banner cramped our photography style just a little, so I handed the camera off to Paris for a quick shot from on high when we joined the main march:

I’m afraid I never saw Paris again. But the crush of people was glorious and I did see and dearly love the full brass band

The fire brigade from the Isle of Wight with their drum, the folks with the Robin Hood hats, the balloons and the gorgeous banners from all over the country. Most of all I  just loved the beauty and immensity of it all:

This last shot I took in the late afternoon as we were leaving after a much needed rest in Hyde Park. I can’t even remember what time it was, but it must have been getting on for 5 pm and people were still streaming into Hyde Park as you can see. We thanked our stars for taking Westminster Bridge and joining the march nearer the beginning than the end. They’re saying half a million people in total but I can’t believe it wasn’t more:

I also got up to Oxford Street for a bit, getting there just too late for UK Uncut‘s action against Topshop, but I did join the revolutionary milling about for a while. Click here to read just why Topshop is a target, and why I personally was quite happy to see this:

Central London was an amazing place this weekend, almost empty but for a handful of confused shoppers, protesters, and riot police.

Just check out the nonchalance of London towards riot police! It was immensely surreal, but surely not business as usual. I don’t think it has been business as usual for a long while, I think that is something we should congratulate ourselves on.

UK Uncut went on to occupy Fortnum and Mason’s as well. Just after I had grown tired of milling about, sadly. You can read the press release here, and a very moving eyewitness account from a new activist who was there. There’s also plenty of live video footage to contradict the reports in the press of violence and mayhem. The police caused the damage, but, you know, it’s Fortnum and Mason after all. As my favourite tweet of the day says: @simonblackwell: According to police, £15,000 worth of damage inside Fortnum & Mason. Someone knocked over a jar of olives.

I know there’ll be a lot of contradictory opinions on the violence of yesterday. For myself, the violence really at issue here is that of the government against the people. It’s in every job cut and every service lost, and the job cuts run into the tens of thousands. For those of us with personal experience of the immense pain that come from lay offs and the destruction they can cause to people’s sense of self, their families, and their communities . . . there is no way to stand by and do nothing. Dismantling the welfare state is nothing if not intensely violent.

This is why we must continue to fight tooth and nail against all of it, from the sackings of RMT reps Arwyn Thomas and Eamonn Lynch (who I met last night, cheers Eamonn), to the cuts to the NHS, to our libraries and librarians, park rangers, public housing and … well, just tell me who and what isn’t getting cut.

Join us next Thursday, March 31st, 6:30 pm at the Vida Walsh Centre in Brixton to see where we go from here. I find myself deeply inspired by yesterday’s march and all of the people I marched with. So now? Now we go back to work to save our jobs and our services.

We’ll be assembling in Kennington Park at 10.30am so bring a pack lunch and all the banners, instruments and home made placards you can carry. The feeder march has been called by Lambeth SOS, Southwark SOS & Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance.

The ConDems want working class communities to bear the brunt of the economic crisis. And they are using the crisis as a cover for their ideological plans to break up the welfare state. These ‘austerity’ cuts are totally unnecessary. Why should bankers continue raking in fat bonuses while our jobs, services and communities are destroyed? In Lambeth alone the Council are making 37million in cuts this year but across the country people are beginning to fight back…

  • GPs, Unions and patient groups are uniting to keep the NHS public and to keep the market and the private profiteers out.
  • Students and staff have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands to stop funding cuts in education at all levels.
  • In Lambeth, parents and play workers are uniting against the closure of adventure playgrounds and youth clubs. Thousands have signed the petition to stop all the park rangers being sacked. Workers in the libraries and in Lambeth Living are balloting for strike action in response to Council plans to close 4 libraries, 2 mobile libraries and to cut frontline services on housing estates.

Lambeth SOS is an umbrella organisation of local trade unionists, community organisations, pensioners and students working to support & build every struggle against cuts, to save services, to stop job losses and to bring down the ConDems!

Join the national demonstration on March 26th and get in touch at Our next open meetings are on Thursday 17th and 31st March at 6.30pm in the Vida Walsh Centre, Saltoun Road, Brixton.

Tonight planning meeting is a 6:30PM in the Vida Walsh Centre in Brixton (just off Windrush square). Please come along, bring friends and get involved with the campaign against cuts in Lambeth Services.


  1. Feedback from 23 Feb demo & occupation
  2. Report back on Saturday’s benefit gig
  3. 7 march public meeting?
  4. London-wide anti-cuts meeting 9 March at Cock Tavern
  5. 26 march – General preparations and South London feeder march
  6. South London planning meeting Monday 7 March at South Bank University at 6.30
  7. Megaphone & other equipment
  8. Meetings on estates with TRAs
  9. St George’s Hospital/Kingston Hospital
  10. Where next after occupation? Ideas for the next one!
  11. Donate pizzas to Wisconsin occupiers (perhaps with solidarity message linking to our own occupation)? Can be done online

It’s looking pretty long but hopefully some items can be dealt with quickly.

We also have some more videos on youtube (Thanks Mandy) and some more photos courtesy of Grace Wong (Thanks!)