Tens of thousands march in Manchester to protest UK government’s policies

Mass protests are taking place in Manchester as the ruling Conservatives get ready to hold their party conference. People are demonstrating about a number of issues, ranging from PM David Cameron’s austerity measures to his plans to bomb Syria.

Amongst the protesters’ main gripes has been austerity measures introduced by the Tory Party, which has seen cuts in public services and a fall in living standards. 

RT’s Eisa Ali, who is reporting from the center of Manchester mentions that despite all the doom and gloom, the protesters say they have been “revitalized” following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“We are here to stand up for the public services of this country: nurses, doctors, bin men, street cleaners, parking enforcement – everyone who is a public sector worker is out today to tell the Tories that your austerity is not working. There is a new way, a new route of sensible politics and that is what Jeremy Corbyn is promoting and that’s why we are here,” said one demonstrator. 

John Rees from the Stop the War coalition said; “This is a huge demonstration pretty much about everything the Tory Party stands for. Obviously its central message is that we don’t want any more austerity, and we don’t want the Trade Union Bill, which is a massive incursion into the rights of trade unionists which have been abandoned.”

The Trade Union Bill will introduce fresh restrictions on strike ballots, picketing and union funds. Rights groups such as Liberty and Amnesty International have called it a major assault on civil liberties in the UK.

Rees also mentioned that the public was also fed-up with the Conservative’s policies concerning warfare.

“We know they are bringing up a vote in the autumn about bombing Syria and we think that will be a disaster,” he added.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) estimated that around 80,000 protesters will gather in the center of Manchester. They plan to march towards where the Tory Party conference is going to be held, though Ali mentioned there have been reports that police have created a “ring of steel” to keep protesters away from Manchester Central and the Midland hotel where the session will be taking place.

Police on Sunday closed down an anti-austerity protest event in the Piccadilly Gardens area of the city, which had started on Friday evening.

Police said the demonstrators had been peaceful, though there had been numerous complaints about the noise.