‘Balls to the budget!’ Activists resist Chancellor Osborne’s emergency measures (VIDEO)
After police allegedly threatened to arrest one leading activist, anti-austerity and disability rights groups held protests across the UK to oppose Chancellor George Osborne’s new budget.
In London, several groups moved to block roads around Parliament Square and Whitehall ahead of Osborne’s speech.
Among them was Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). Its supports threw an assortment of balls at Downing Street, in line with their slogan “balls to the budget.”
“George Osborne’s budget will be a budget for the billionaires,” Youth Fight for Jobs spokesperson Helen Pattison said.
“Austerity is snatching away the future of young people like me. The news that Osborne is planning to scrap maintenance grants, which help thousands of less well-off young people to access education, is a scandal.”
“This will slam the doors of higher education in so many faces. So much for a government that claims to want young people to ‘earn or learn!’” she added.
The Morning Star newspaper reported claims by People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn that police had threatened to arrest him for “the supposed crime of organizing an anti-austerity protest.”
In a closed meeting with Metropolitan Police on Tuesday, Fairbairn said he was told by two senior officers that “Our preferred option would be to issue the arrest a few days after the protest.”
“We oppose this attempt to criminalize protest. We call on people in Britain to reject this attempt to squash growing opposition to the government,” Fairbairn said.
“We ask everyone to stand with the People’s Assembly in defending our civil liberties and democratic right to protest.”
In the first wholly Conservative budget for 19 years, Osborne announced cuts to welfare, lower taxes on high earners and greater military spending.