Socialist Worker

People's Assembly demo arrives in Trafalgar Square: steel workers and teachers speak out

by Socialist Worker reporters
Issue No. 2499

Teachers and their supporters were strongly supported on the march

Teachers and their supporters were strongly supported on the march (Pic: Socialist Worker)


ARRIVING IN Trafalgar Square, the tens of thousands of marchers on the People’s Assembly demonstration quickly filled the space. On the demonstration there were many chants of "Say hey, say ho, dodgy Dave has got to go."

As well as hundreds of homemade placards and dozens of pig masks there was a woman with monopoly money in her hair and a man with an Icelandic flag—referencing the recent mass protests there that brought down the prime minister.

Teachers chanted to the tune of Hey Mickey, "Hey Nicky, we're so free, we don't want academies", while health students chanted, "The NHS makes us well, Tories make us sick”.

Emma (right) says, Cameron’s been pretty good at digging his heals in, but I hope this will make him go.

Emma (right) says, ""Cameron’s been pretty good at digging his heels in, but I hope this will make him go." (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Shaun, a steel worker from Port Talbot, said, The Tories will stick like glue to power until theyre kicked out. Maybe thatll be before 2020, the referendum is destroying the Tories.

Shaun, a steel worker from Port Talbot, said, "The Tories will stick like glue to power until they're kicked out. Maybe that'll be before 2020, the referendum is destroying the Tories." (Pic: Socialist Worker)


There were workers marching who are in the frontline of the Tory attacks.

Shaun, a steel worker from Port Talbot, said, "Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air, before him the Labour Party was just Conservative-lite. I definitely think David Cameron should resign, but the Tories will stick like glue to power until they're kicked out. Maybe that'll be before 2020, the referendum is destroying the Tories.

"They've been left with egg on their face because of the steel crisis."

Anthony Simpson, the Unite union branch chair and a steel worker from North Wales, told Socialist Worker, "We have a 50/50 chance of saving the steel industry.The government has been lacklustre, we need more than just warm words".

Academy

A lively block of NUT teachers’ union members and parents had joined the demo to fight Tory plans to force every school to become an academy.

Chris, who'd come with his daughter, said, "I'm here to oppose the academy plans. My daughter goes to a perfectly good primary school and I don't think turning schools to making a profit is a good thing."

Kevin Courtney, NUTdeputy general secretary, told the crowd at the start of the march, "This is our best opportunity, they're divided on tax, on the European Union referendum and even on academies."

He added to loud cheers, "That's why the NUT conference unanimously decided to ballot for strikes. We're determined to break the Tories’ policies."

Emma, a recent graduate from London, told Socialist Worker, "Cameron’s been pretty good at digging his heels in, but I hope this will make him go."

Diane Abbott, shadow international development secretary, told the crowd, "I want to pass on Jeremy Corbyn's absolute support for the demo and the struggle against austerity.

"Fighting austerity is the political struggle of our time. It's important that we unite and don't let them divide us and it’s important that we fight racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and work with refugees."

Chris, whod come with his daughter, said, Im here to oppose the academy plans. My daughter goes to a perfectly good primary school and I dont think turning schools to making a profit is a good thing.

Chris, who'd come with his daughter, said, "I'm here to oppose the academy plans. My daughter goes to a perfectly good primary school and I don't think turning schools to making a profit is a good thing." (Pic: Socialist Worker)


She added, "It's important in May to vote for Jeremy Corbyn's man Sadiq Khan to be mayor of London."

A bloc of Jeremy Corbyn supporters had also joined the demonstration. Oliver, a sixth form student from Manchester, told Socialist Worker, "I don't think David Cameron will resign because of this demo, but people will see that we're the alternative.

"We need action from the unions."

He added, "I wish Labour was more on the attack. It's a learning curve for us, but we can't afford that.We need to go on the attack."

Chants of "Refugees in, Tories out" and David Cameron get out" rang through the crowd.

 


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