Haringey Residents and workers join London anti-cuts demo

March 28, 2011

Around half a million people* from every corner of the UK attended the national TUC anti-cuts ‘March for An Alternative’ on Saturday 26 March in central London. It was believed to be the second largest demonstration in UK history**.

The Haringey Alliance for Public Services had distributed 50,000 special leaflets in the week leading up to the demonstration and it is estimated that 5-10,000 Haringey residents and workers would have joined it throughout the day, hundreds of them choosing to meet up at local tube stations before going down together. The main march from the Embankment to Hyde Park was joined by a number of feeder marches (HAPS contingents joined the 5,000-strong north London march from Holborn), and there were other related protests in Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square and elsewhere in the area.

Delegations from Haringey included: local trades union branches (eg CoHENEL UCU, Finsbury Park RMT, Local Government UNISON, Health UNISON, Park View Academy NUT and Stamford Hill School NUT), local community groups and campaigns (eg Turkish Cypriot Women’s Group, Day-Mer and the Wards Corner Community Coalition), service users (eg from nurseries and the Somerford Grove playscheme), local political organisations (eg Green Party, Haringey Solidarity Group, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Party, and Labour Party), students (eg from Hornsey School for Girls, and College of Haringey Enfield & NE London) and many members of other trades unions and local residents associations.

The breathtaking demonstration was a vast sea of banners and placards opposing all cuts to public services and public sector jobs, and criticising the huge sums of public money set aside to prop up the disfunctional banking system and the £billions more lost due to corporate tax evasion. Popular chants included: ‘No Ifs, No Buts – No Public Service Cuts’, and ‘They Say Cutback, We Say Fightback!’ Those attending from local groups, communities and workplaces seemed to represent just the tip of an ice-berg of widespread public concern, anger and opposition.

The mammoth demonstration followed a month of local mass protests at Town Halls all over the UK, as local communities have begun mobilising to defend their local services from the next round of savage cuts starting on April 1st. This included in Haringey on February 24th when hundreds took part in a rally and occupation of the Civic Centre. This countrywide grass-roots movement is clearly continuing to grow and there is increasing pressure on the Government to reverse its unacceptable, discredited and unnecessary cuts programme.

“The demonstration was a magnificent show of strength, with a huge array of groups from all backgrounds and walks of life marching side by side. It seems that almost the whole country is beginning to unite in defence of our vital local public services and to demand an end to the savage and ideologically-driven cuts being imposed on us all by the government.” Oktay Sahbaz, HAPS Publicity Group

The Haringey Alliance for Public Services is calling on all residents and workers opposed to cuts to sign up for updates from www.hapsnews.net, and to attend their next meeting on Thursday 7th April, 7.15pm at the North London Community House, Moorefield Rd, N17.

*   500,000 took part according to the Sunday Independent, 400,000 according to the Sunday Telegraph
**  Over 1 million protested against the invasion of Iraq in 2003

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