On the streets today, strikers and protestors sent a cohesive, united message: you cannot mess with our futures this way, and we will do what it takes to ensure that you don’t. The mood was upbeat and positive – in places even carnival-esque. It is not a generational conflict, nor a party-political one. It is about promises being broken, and about fair futures for all.
Strikes and picket lines started as midnight struck but did not begin in earnest until 7 or 8am. Outside schools, hospitals and governmental offices, union members came out with their placards to chant and raise public support for their cause. Then, in keeping with the union leaders’ calls for unity, solidarity was claimed by convening together at locations across the country. At Lincolns’ Inn Fields in London, a multi-union crowd – several thousand strong – From gathered to march to Victoria Embankment, where in sight of the Houses of Parliament, the throng listened to the SERTUC rally with guest speakers including former mayor Ken Livingstone.
Later in the day, a few hundred protesters made their way to Piccadilly Circus, there they evaded police and attempted to occupy the offices of Xstrata boss Mick Davis. They succeeded in suspending a banner from the roof before being evicted from the building. The organisers of the public-sector strike were quick to distance themselves from the breakaway group.
Photos by Theo Bones, Aeron O’Connor and Christo Hall.