London, United Kingdom (TFC) – Protesters in London took to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate against the re-election of David Cameron’s Conservative government. Carrying placards declaring ‘63% said NO to this’ many in the UK are still reeling from this week’s election result. Some of those that believe the British voting system is undemocratic and out of date headed to Westminster to express themselves.
Organised by various community groups including London Black Revs, Class War and Occupy Democracy, the protest was due to begin at 3pm outside the Conservative Party Headquarters. Organisers quickly realised the HQ was in the corner of a dog leg shaped street and that there was a danger of protesters being hemmed in before the protest even began by the already heavy presence of the London Metropolitan police.
After some frantic reorganising, a few hundred demonstrators convened outside nearby Westminster Abbey instead carrying placards saying Tories Out, No to Racism and Islamophobia as well as detailing some of the statistics in the consequences of David Cameron’s infamous Austerity measures.
Outside the Conservative party Headquarters, London police gathered their numbers while protesters chanted ‘What do we want? Tories out. When do we want it? Now.’
Marching through Parliament Square shouting ‘Whose square? Our Square’ protesters brought busy Saturday traffic in Whitehall to a standstill. Flanked by riot police, protesters descended on No 10 Downing Street using megaphones to give speeches about the housing crisis and cuts to services in ‘Austerity Britain’.
Met Police riot vans pulled up one after the other. Hundreds of policemen juggled the scenario of over- excited protestors (who don’t take to the streets too often in Britain) ruining the holiday photos of thousands of bemused tourists, desperately trying to get a snap of number 10.
Despite what various Mainstream media outlets would have us believe in their obsession with violence and painting the lowest view possible of human beings, this was an important and largely peaceful demonstration. Yes, it became problematic during the end stages with reports of police violence and protesters kettled outside Downing Street and whoever scrawled mindless graffiti on a war memorial risked endangering the reputation of future, much needed demonstrations. However this was a nonviolent demonstration and not a riot as has since been proclaimed.
The Conservative party stand accused of systematically destroying Britain, favouring the wealthy over the poor and hitting the vulnerable the hardest by cuts to public services. Over a million in the UK depend on food banks, the treasured NHS system is slowly being privatised and David Cameron has pledged a further 12bn of cuts. It could be that Britain, with a reputation for over politeness and doffing their caps to the establishment begins to see more of these uprisings.