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'No more austerity:' Thousands rally in London demanding alternative from govt

Published time: June 21, 2014 13:43
Edited time: June 27, 2014 07:46

Photo from Twitter/@daisyayliffe

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Thousands of protesters hit streets in London in a “no more austerity” march, which demanded an alternative to the “greed and selfishness” of the Con-Dem coalition.

The rally, which also includes a festival, was called by The People's Assembly Against Austerity, an broad coalition of anti-government groups that embraces trade unions and other campaigners. RT's Sara Firth reported from the scene that thousands came to join.

“Living standards continue to drop, forcing millions into poverty, yet the politicians remain addicted to austerity,” the rally’s said.

Assembling on the doorstep of the BBC's offices in London, the demonstrators marched to the Houses of Parliament demanding that “the alternative to austerity” is no longer ignored. Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, one of the two biggest UK trade unions, Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party and Russell Brand, the anti-establishment comedian, came to address the rally.

RT’s Sara Firth said that people are protesting a range of issues, including cuts to education and to the National Health System.

Owen Jones, a British journalist, who was at the march told RT that despite modest economic growth, Britain is experiencing the biggest fall in living standards since Queen Victoria.

Among the issues people were protesting about are a “fight for a living wage, fight for proper housing, fight for public ownership of the banks and for tax justice,” he said.

The diverse march was even joined by Franciscan monks, who - in their traditional brown robes - were at the forefront of the protest.

“Christianity places a quite firm obligation from those who have more to share to look after those who have less,” Brother Robert, of the Franciscan order, told the leftist Morning Star newspaper.

“At the moment the government seems to promote an atmosphere that is rather, well, different,” added the monk, employing characteristic British understatement.

Brand came to prominence in UK politics in October 2013, when he called in a TV interview for worldwide “socialist revolution” against the status quo and dismissed the idea of voting for the current political parties represented in the UK parliament.

While one left-wing novelist, Joan Smith, dismissed his performance as "adolescent waffle,” a columnist for the Independent, Simon Kelner, defended him saying: "It sounded rather attractive, even if it wasn't exactly worked through.”

The anti-austerity protest took place as the largest-ever study into deprivation in Britain revealed that poverty is getting worse, and even working families are now struggling to make ends meet.

The Poverty and Social Exclusion project found that more than 500,000 children are living in families who can’t afford to feed them properly and 5.5 million adults have to go without essential clothing.

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