UK Readies for Massive Protest Against 'Austerity on Steroids'

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UK Readies for Massive Protest Against 'Austerity on Steroids'

Tens of thousands are expected to march against 'nasty, destructive cuts to the things ordinary people care about'

The People's Assembly has organized several previous anti-austerity marches, including this one last year. (Photo: The Weekly Bull/flickr/cc)

A massive and growing anti-austerity movement will take to the streets of London on Saturday, June 20, with demonstrators demanding "an alternative to austerity and to policies that only benefit those at the top."

Tens of thousands are expected to march from the Bank of England to Parliament Square on Saturday, protesting the conservative government's "nasty, destructive cuts to the things ordinary people care about—the [National Health Service], the welfare state, education and public services."

Organized by The People's Assembly—a politically unaffiliated national campaign against austerity—the demonstration comes in the wake of UK elections in early May that saw the Conservative (Tory) Party seizing the majority of Parliamentary seats and Prime Minister David Cameron sweeping back to power.

"David Cameron and George Osborne can hardly contain their enthusiasm for the torrent of cuts and privatisations they are about to unleash," wrote the Guardian's Seumas Milne on Wednesday. "This is to be austerity on steroids."

In fact, Milne warned, "indefinite austerity, which transfers wealth from public to private and poor to rich, is Osborne’s aim."

But "there’s no necessity to put up with the attacks they’re about to launch on millions of people’s living standards, and every reason to resist them," Milne concluded. "The austerity programme needs to be opposed in parliament, but also with industrial action, demonstrations and local campaigns. That process is already kicking off, with a national anti-austerity march in London this Saturday."

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A separate but similarly themed rally is planned for Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday. As Al Jazeera explains, the political landscape is different in Scotland, where the Scottish National Party (SNP) won an overwhelming victory in May.

"The SNP’s victory was widely seen as an endorsement of nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon’s anti-austerity stance," Al Jazeera reports, while noting that "the party also benefited from a wave of grass-roots enthusiasm whipped up during last year’s referendum on independence from the U.K.—which generated unprecedented levels of political engagement among previously apathetic sections of Scottish society."

Stephen Boyd, the assistant secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, which represents more than 600,000 Scottish workers and is one of the main sponsors of Saturday's event, told Al Jazeera: "We expect George Square [in central Glasgow] to be packed. The rally will reflect the significant anger in Scotland at Tory plans to widen and deepen austerity."

He continued: "With the Tories having achieved an overall majority at Westminster, it is essential that progressive forces in Scotland work together more closely than ever before to counter this unnecessary attack on society’s most vulnerable people."

Ahead of Saturday's march, the People's Assembly made the following video outlining their grievances and demands:

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