Today saw hundreds of people gather at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester to protest against government cuts.
The scene was awash with anti-Tory placards as union members from across the country joined representatives of the People’s Assembly, Green Party and local students in order to voice their opinion. The general feeling was that the austerity cuts are unfairly targeting the most vulnerable in society.
In addition to this, homeless people set up a camp at St Ann’s Square to protest against Salford and Manchester council who they argue do not support their plight.
Despite widespread anger – directed towards the government – the event, which was organised on social media, was peaceful. Even the police seemed to be getting behind the people’s right to protest with Public Liaison Officer Mick Southern telling us:
This is a family atmosphere. We encourage peaceful protest, it’s a wonderful thing to do and it’s part of our democratic right.
One protester, proudly wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, said:
We have an oppressive government who think it’s OK to starve out poor people. The world is for everyone, not just a few.
Others wanted to make a difference because they couldn’t vote in the general election…
With cuts of over a quarter of a billion pounds to Manchester’s public services set for 2015 (in addition to the £1.2bn worth of cuts since the inception of the austerity measures in 2010) I will be surprised if this is the last protest we see. Let’s hope the atmosphere remains positive and doesn’t descend into one of anarchy.