At least 250,000 people surged through the streets of London on Saturday in protest of the Conservative-led government’s announced cuts to public sector services and jobs. Over 200 demonstrators were arrested and some 35 people were injured, including five police officers. There was some damage to downtown businesses, especially as night fell, but the demonstration was largely peaceful.
Protesting Government Cuts to Services, Jobs
The protests were organized in response to the current coalition government’s attempts to rein in spending and stabilize the UK’s deficit. Up to half a million public sector jobs may be cut, along with over $28 billion from welfare payments. Organizers of the protests state that alternatives to the cuts, such as taxes on the banks and the closing of tax loopholes, are better routes to fiscal solvency.
The March for the Alternative was organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and is the largest rally in London since the protests against the Iraq war in 2003. Estimates of the number of demonstrators ranged from 250,000 to half a million.
The crowd was mixed, reported the Los Angeles Times, including: “civil servants, environmentalists, prison officers, academics, feminists and young parents with toddlers on their shoulders”
250,000 Rally in Germany Against Nuclear Power
Also on Saturday, an estimated quarter of a million Germans, including 100,000 in Berlin, took to the streets to protest the use of nuclear power, urging the government to turn off all of the country’s 17 reactors and keep them off. The demonstrations keep the pressure on the government of Angela Merkel, which recently reversed plans to extend the use of nuclear power in Germany. Nuclear power supplies 23% of Germany’s energy.
Photo by szczel, via Flickr, Creative Commons license