Over 1,000 protesters marched through central London today, Saturday, as two demonstrations united to take on the Tories.
One protest, called by a group of women trade unionists, was opposing any deal between the Tories and the reactionary Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Another was a march over housing.
Several marchers were on their first protest. Student Kara told Socialist Worker, “I came because I saw this on Facebook and I think supporting women’s rights is really important.
“This is showing people coming together to fight back. It shows people are passionate.”
Angie travelled from Sussex to join the protest. “Women’s rights would be under attack if a DUP deal goes ahead,” she told Socialist Worker. “All the headway we’ve made would be lost.”
Labour supporter Ann travelled from Brighton. “I”m really angry about the DUP and all it stands for,” she told Socialist Worker. “It’s dangerous for women’s rights and for gay rights.”
Like others on the protest, Ann had been politicised by left wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “I was never political until this election,” she explained.
“But I went out campaigning for Labour. Corbyn is giving us a choice. I fear for my grandchildren—I don’t want them to grow up in such an austere environment.”
Student Amelia joined Labour because of Corbyn. “He goes out and speaks to people who are feeling downtrodden,” she said.
“People need that. This is my first protest. I came because I’m sick of the same shit—and the government only cares when lots of people make a stand.”
The united demonstration marched on Downing Street and blocked the road outside. Protesters chanted, “Anti-women, anti-gay—DUP, go away!”
There was a mood to keep up the fight to stop women’s rights being rolled back.
Judith Orr from the Abortion Rights campaign told the crowd, “Making abortions illegal does not stop abortions. It makes women take risks.
“In Northern Ireland women are already punished for having abortions. It's a disgrace that women who pay the same national insurance and income tax should have to travel to England and pay for private abortions rather than access them safely on the NHS.”
The protest was another sign of the growing fury against the Tories.
Housing activists came from as far away as Leeds to protest and bring solidarity for the Grenfell Tower fire victims. The murder of working class people at Grenfell Tower has concentrated people’s anger.
Activist Moyra Samuels from west London addressed the protest. "Many families have not found their missing relatives after the Grenfell fire," she said. "We feel let down by the local authority who should be prosecuted for Grenfell.”
The People's Assembly national demonstration next Saturday will be an opportunity to build of this anger and drive the Tories out.