There was a carnival atmosphere as some 4,000 people joined a vibrant anti-austerity protest through Bristol city centre yesterday, Wednesday, finishing at Castle Park.
The anti-racist and angry Bristol Against Austerity march was overwhelmingly young and included swathes of school students.
One protester told Socialist Worker, “This has to be the start, we cannot just allow the next five years to be one where we see the extinction of the NHS”.
An all-female group of seven school students called the protest at three days’ notice. It caught the imagination and news spread like wildfire across the city.
One of the organisers, Hannah Patterson, told the crowd, "We are young, but our voices will not be silenced. We will not sit around while the rich get richer and the poor poorer."
Those marching ranged far beyond the networks of protesters seen over the last few years. While many people carried printed placards including those from Socialist Worker and the People’s Assembly, hundreds had made their own.
Many workers were there, including groups from the Bristol Royal Infirmary, teachers and local government workers. Rail workers in the RMT union brought their banner along.
It was also striking how there was a thirst for radical ideas and there were many discussions on how to build the movement against the government.
Only 19 percent of voters in Bristol voted Tory at the election and Labour have three out of the four Bristol seats. But there were no Labour Party banners at the protest and the overwhelming feel of this momentous protest was a sense that Labour will not resist so we need to take to the streets.