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Around 2,000-3,000 people gathered on the streets on Birmingham last weekend to demonstrate for an alternative economic strategy to austerity, as the 2012 Tory conference started in the ICC.
Birmingham Against The Cuts joined Birmingham NUT to meet on the High Street to march up to join the TUC, who had moved the start location to Victoria Square. We waited until 11am to pick up anyone who didn’t know about the change, and then marched up the High Street and New Street to Victoria Square, joined on the way by students from the local universities, making this an impromptu education feeder march of around 100 people. This was very lively with chanting and although it was a Sunday morning there were a fair number of people around whose attention we definitely drew.
At Victoria Square the TUC had formed up but waited for us to arrive, and we joined the demonstration and marched off around the back streets and a little bit of Broad Street – as always kept away from the ICC itself by a 10ft high wall of steel, before coming back to Victoria Square for a rally where the Tory’s attack on our economy, welfare and rights was challenged and plans and ideas for an alternative put forward.
The demonstration was great, with at least 3 marching bands providing a stirring sound track, plenty of chanting and the sun shining down on us, but it must be said that the final route the TUC decided to take was not right. Any demonstration in Birmingham – especially on a Sunday – must go through the city centre where we can be seen and heard by lots of people and be able to effectively spread our message and ideas to the public.
With the TUC national demonstration on 20th October this was a nice warm up event. There are free coach seats available from Birmingham for unwaged and low paid workers, and seats on union coaches for non-unionised workers, so make sure that you are going along to show opposition and resistance to this government’s austerity agenda. The TUC rally was also followed by a Unite The Resistance public meeting in the council house.
With thanks to Hannah Goldman Hincks and Helen Purcell for photos, and Ben Hewitt for the video. Here are some more photos from the day: