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31 Jan, 2015 21:06

Thousands march in London to protest housing crisis

Thousands of people have taken part in the 'March for Homes' in London, to demand solutions to the escalating housing crisis.

Groups of protesters gathered to listen to speeches at Elephant and Castle and Shoreditch before marching towards City Hall.

Demonstrators carried banners reading “People before profit” and “Build council homes. Take the wealth of the 1%.”

As rents, evictions, and homelessness continue to rise, campaigners are demanding that London Mayor Boris Johnson take measures to create a fairer housing market. Protesters are angry with what they believe is the failure of politicians to take meaningful action to tackle the crisis.

An estimated 2,000 people rallied around City Hall, urging the mayor to build more council homes, control private rents, and put an end to the demolition of housing estates.

London: March for Homes demonstrators cross Tower Bridge earlier. #MarchForHomes#Austerity Pic Via @GuardianHousingpic.twitter.com/NhVcR4qOpW

— Revolution News (@NewsRevo) January 31, 2015

Tom Crawford, 63, is one of those affected by the crisis. He and a band of loyal supporters have been fighting an eviction notice for a home he has lived in for 25 years. He claims that his mortgage has long since been paid off.

“The courts are supposed to be protecting the people [but] they’re protecting the banks. The police are supposed to be protecting the people – that’s their oath – and they don’t stand on their oath, and they protect the banks,” Crawford told RT.

Some 40,000 homes were repossessed in the 12 months leading up to September 2014 – a 49 percent increase from four years ago.

Some flats on Aylesbury estate, Elephant and Castle have been squatted in protest at housing crisis. #marchforhomespic.twitter.com/0LWHcAvMI6

— Izzy Köksal (@IzzyKoksal) January 31, 2015

Organizers of the March for Homes protest say that more than 344,000 people are on council waiting lists, as rents have surged by an average of 13 percent a year since 2010.

British Constitution Group chairman Roger Hayes, who is working to help save the Crawfords from eviction, told RT: “We have the evidence, the facts, to present to the courts – but the courts ignore us. The courts say 'We’re not interested in that.' And the reason they do that is because the judiciary has been told 'if you fight against the banks the whole financial system will collapse.'”