March For The Alternative: Major Anti-Cuts Protests In London Today

This post will be updated throughout the day with any developments.

Occupied Tesco Metro in Soho. Pic from @Bagelmouse.

17:10 We’ll probably leave things there, unless there are any major developments. Well done to the hundreds of thousands who marched today. Organisers are now claiming it was in the top 5 largest demonstrations in UK history.

16:31 Huge Hessian Trojan Horse now a huge smouldering bonfire in Oxford CIrcus. Wonder if Troy had diagonal pedestrian crossings?

16:18 Hyde Park official rally winding down now, although some marchers are still arriving. An incredible day.

16:11 Can we just say, well done to the BBC. After an inappropriate focus on the minor vandalism earlier (cutting off from Ed Milliband’s speech), they just spent the first 11 minutes of their 4pm bulletin talking exclusively about the peaceful march and rally. Balance redressed.

16:07 Fortnum and Mason appears to be the current front line for the occupiers. Around 300 people have occupied the building.  Chants of ‘You can stick your royal wedding up your arse’, reported.

15.52 The RMT has a brass band and they’re pretty good. Who knew?

15:42 The march is now approaching completion. Last of the walkers have passed through Trafalgar Square on their way to Hyde Park.

15:35 UK Uncut demonstration beginning in Oxford Circus.

15:29 A Liberty legal observer tells us they’ve heard an attendance count of 460,000 for the TUC-led rally.

15:17 According to @SteveCurran, “Hyde Park. Like a massive village fete. Brass bands, pensioners &Tony Robinson.”

15:15 One splinter group going round trashing windows. Police seem to be doing a good job of holding back, but recording evidence to make later arrests.

15:04 Sounds like plenty of fun (albeit with a serious message) in Hyde Park. Only report of trouble comes from @KellyClark who’s had her sandwich stolen by a dog.

14:53 Breakaway group now at the Ritz. It’s getting a bit of a pelting.

14:37 Official march and rally appears to have been a complete success. However, TV aren’t covering the rally, focusing on street disturbances. And so are most tweeters. Let us know what’s going on in the park.

14:35 Reports of kettling on Oxford Street.

14:31 Sky reports up to half a million people may be on march.

14:24 HSBC on Charing Cross Road, Lloyds TSB, Dorothy Perkins and Boots on Tottenham Court Road reportedly among places protesters are trying to occupy.

14.21 The march continues, all peaceful and good humoured. Talks are no doubt still going on in Hyde Park, but we’re only getting the unrelated skirmishes from BBC/Sky.

14:13 Now hearing the UK Uncut contingent have been thwarted by the number of police on Oxford Street and will now run their comedy club in Soho Square. Here’s a picture from @Chris_Coltrane:

Image from @Chris_Coltrane

14:10 An estimated 500 people have assembled in Soho Square (including Josie Long and Mark Thomas) ahead of taking over a high-street bank for a comedy show.

13:58 Both Sky News and BBC News chose to cut away from Milliband’s speech and the majority of protesters to show the paint-throwing minority on Oxford Street.

Palmerston's old house near Green Park gets a touch up. Photo from Alice Bell.

13:54 As Ed Milliband speaks in Hyde Park, scenes of smoke bombs, dancing and, above all, amateur photographers on Oxford Circus. Topshop’s getting a bit of a spattering.

Topshop on Oxford Street, from @Bagelmouse.

13:45 Rally begins in Hyde Park; Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC, is bellowing his lungs out. Ed Sillyhand is up in a bit.

13:41 A breakaway group, waving red flags and described as the ‘black bloc’ are marching with purpose towards Oxford Street. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now…perhaps they’re just going shopping. (Although something’s brewing.)

13.30 A successful march so far. Only one arrest reported, which is probably fewer than you’d get on a normal day over this many people. ‘Worst London Marathon ever!’ (@wowser)

Best. Sign. Ever. #March26 on Twitpic

13.14: Trojan Horse protest has reached Downing Street. Slightly surreal scene.

12.54: The head of the march has now reached Hyde Park. This march terminates here. Please ensure you have all personal belongings with you.

12.51: Fitzrovia News has some good footage of the student ‘feeder’ march moving off from UCL.

12.20: The head of the march has reached Regent Street area. The arse of the march is reportedly as far back as Blackfriars, thanks to a huge turnout.

11.47: Good to see the return of the vuvuzela. Think we speak for everyone when we say its versatile tones have been missed.

And they’re off…

One of the largest protest marches in recent years has just begun in London.

Demonstrators gathered on Victoria Embankment have set off on a three-mile walk through central London in protest against the government’s cuts agenda. The route takes them through Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and on to Hyde Park (annotated map here).

The main march is organised by the TUC, and aims to be a good-natured family event. Over 1,500 TUC stewards will oversee the march to ensure safety. Meanwhile, 4,500 police officers have been deployed around London. No one knows how many marchers will turn out, but hundreds of thousands are predicted. The Guardian has a good roundup of the various interest groups taking part.

Alongside the main protest, a number of fringe movements are hoping to grab some of the attention. Boing Boing have done an excellent job of rounding up these events, which include a giant wooden horse in Camberwell and occupations by groups such as UK Uncut. Meanwhile unofficial ‘feeder marches’ will coalesce with the main march, including one from Kennington.

Timetable
11.00 March assembles on Victoria Embankment.
11.30 March gets underway
13.30 March reaches Hyde Park for rally
14.00 UK Uncut groups begin protests on Oxford Street
14.00 In Hyde Park, giant ‘hush’ followed by air-raid sirens and lots of noise at 14.11
15.30 UK Uncut regroup at Oxford Circus ahead of new building occupation
16.30 Official end time for Hyde Park rally
17.00 ‘Battle of Britain’ parties at five locations (forming a pentacle!)
20.30 Lights go out around London for Earth Hour

Tags: , , , , ,

Unknown

Article by Matt Brown | 4,693 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • Grumpy

    march for the alternative?? – there isnt an alternative – Labour’s give away years with no thought for the consequences has doomed us all. Labour politicians, hypocrites all – should be in prison & left to rot!!

    • happy

      what a knob

      • ba humbug

        Gordon Brown what a knob

  • Suxinthecity

    Dear all, As you may be aware there is The March on March 26th. Against the cuts. All cuts. Here in london. Please could you read this link and pass on where you think appropriate. Thank you for your time reading this.
    Blessed Be. :)
    http://achancetospeak.wordpress.com/
    A chance to speak | To all officers who will be policcing anti-cuts …
    See more

    A chance to speak
    achancetospeak.wordpress.com

    A chance to speak
    achancetospeak.wordpress.com

  • Suxinthecity

    Dear all, As you may be aware there is The March on March 26th. Against the cuts. All cuts. Here in london. Please could you read this link and pass on where you think appropriate. Thank you for your time reading this.
    Blessed Be. :)
    http://achancetospeak.wordpress.com/
    A chance to speak | To all officers who will be policcing anti-cuts …
    See more

    A chance to speak
    achancetospeak.wordpress.com

    A chance to speak
    achancetospeak.wordpress.com

  • ba humbug

    And you think it will may a difference.. , just an excuse for the UAF fascist scum to cause violence..

  • ba humbug

    The vuvuzela is one of the most annoying instruments and completely ruined the World Cup

  • happy

    There is an alternative, This is a worldwise recession caused by greedy bankers not a political party. Obviously “Greedy” is a Tory Voter or perhaps a Con -dem, so watch here Grumpy for further Tory Cuts in Store for you!!!
    Get the bankers to pay back what they owe, then the working class wouldnt have to pay the price yet again, under the Tories we will end up back to the days of the miners strikes and queing for food vouchers, mass unemployment…..who wants a return to that I certainly dont. !!!

    In a recession more jobs need to be created not less, for every pound paid out in wages seventy pence is paid back into the economy for food, bills etc. Higher unemployment means more hardship, more benefit payments, small businesses and the faming industry affected, and less money going into the economy..you dont have to be a rocket scientist!!!

    Perhaps thats why Grumpy is so grumpy, maybe the petrol prices, taxation, cost of food etc. Why dont you do us a favour go have a word with your bank and as them why they are robbing you blind. Point your grumpyness in the right direction!

  • MXx

    It’s a positive statement that the people of this country turn out in big numbers. This in itself says a lot about the sheer numbers of unhappy people. Expressing there anger towards the injustice that the government have brought towards them and the barriers that been created in there daily lives.
    The reality though, is this. the usual conventional way of protesting does not work, FACT!!. especially when violence and bravado is thrown into the mix. There are a lot of people that turn up to these protests with the wrong approach and mentality and enjoy getting caught up in all the commotion of it all. In the end it all becomes a farce and the people cannot be taken seriously. The way to protest effectively and the way to make a real change is the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing today.
    The way to change this county is through subtelty, moderation and compromise. Not through endless shouting and chanting, which becomes ridiculous and monotonous and because of its repetition it holds no power.
    As Subcomandante Marcos said. ‘Our words are our weapons’.
    It means saying the right thing assertively. A person to speak for the people and that hat doesn’t mean thousands of people shouting aggressively. It also means using the power of written statements.

    Speak. Write. Make a powerful statement that resonates and then let the silence echoe a need for change in the minds of the government

    MXx

  • Shonk

    Its not about right or left, its about doing whats right and looking after whats left behind.

  • MXx

    The Government need an economy for the country to function and to continue to serve the richer classes. That’s why there is such a huge divide and inequality. This also enables them to control in essence the freedom and fate of the poorer classes. They can be easily manipulated if they are pigeon-holed into a certain existence. The government need people to feed the machine, the system. The way to bring it down is to stop buying into it. Literally to buy only what is needed for survival. That means forget material things, that don’t serve a purpose and only serve to create a false sense of self worth. Do you think the rich people of this country care as much for protesting as do the poorer?
    Less is more. Think about that.

    MXx

  • happy

    missed this too busy winning on the dubai world cup :) have a lovely afternoon

  • sc00b7

    Its not just UK having to make cuts. There is massive debt that HAS to be paid back. If not now then when ? leave it to our childen or childrens children ? We are going to get cuts wanted or not and smashing things up will only make things worse. Laws will be changed to stop these marches and suppress us more.
    We need to learn to help each other through these hard times, not cause more problems for our country.

    • Boris_Plankton

      No it is not but it Is a question of balance as to the pain. What do you think of the Deutsch Band employee who whilst at work mouthed obscenities at a group of NHS staff while waving wads of £20 notes at them? Surprised he had the time
      And as an aside most of the for the cuts camp are the people that triple A rated several financial services institutions only to decide a few days/weeks later they were in fact worthy of a junk rating. Incidentally I am working in the private sector and have worked in the city and imho well over half of the city really know no more than the rest of us. But then I am a (mildly reconstructed) Keynesianist.
      You are focussing on small scale although bloody annoying rioting antisocial behaviour. I went on the March and there was absolutely no trouble at the march itself. Announce a pigeon race in support of the fire Brigade or something and the wilder element will attempt to abuse it.

  • rupert

    who won the boat race anyway?

    • Ymsim

      blue beard in the black pearl ,or was that jack sparrow

  • Boris_Plankton

    Oh and I think our under 25s have been royally shafted, esp as a significant nos of them voted on a single issue which they have been let down on. And young people (as I recall although it is a bit of a stretch) tend to be more proactive and ‘misbehave’ more than older people.