Saturday’s October 20th "March for a future that works" demonstration organised by the TUC saw over 150,000 out on the streets of London to protest the government's cuts and austerity measures. It's been almost a year since the TUC leadership tried to look like they were actively opposing the cuts and well over a year since the last big demo. The organisers sent out a somewhat mixed message by first calling for a general strike but then allowing Ed Miliband a platform to announce he'll carry on cutting where the Tories leave off if elected.
The demonstration also saw hundreds of black bloc and Boycott Workfare activists target Oxford Street stores that use workfare and tax avoidance, whilst DPAC activists successfully blockaded Park Lane.
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Previous Features: SchNEWS: One Strike and You're Out? | "You Can Shove Your Rubber Bullets Up Your Arse!": 'Total Policing' of N9 Demos | Anti-cuts protesters take over London | March 26th - All out against the cuts
The Solidarity Federation / Radical Workers feeder march set off from the Imperial War Museum and was accompanied by a group of TSG, a few protest liaison officers, a FIT team and a helicopter.
As the protest came to Park Lane DPAC activists (Disabled People Against Cuts)successfully managed to blockade it by wheelchair users chaining themselves together causing traffic to be diverted for the next few hours.
As the anti-capitalist bloc reached Trafalgar Square it suddenly left the main march and headed up to Oxford Street to join the Boycott Workfare protesters in targeting shops participating in workfare or tax avoidance. The next few hours saw a cat and mouse game with the cops as the bloc attempted to occupy various targets. Those targets included several McDonald’s, Primark, The Salvation Army, Marks & Spencer, Vodafone, Boots, Topshop and Starbucks. Although there were no smashed windows, paint bombs or rioting this year most of the targeted shops had to temporarily shut with one McDonald’s choosing to lock its own customers in. Numbers on Oxford Street steadily began to grow as people - presumably bored of the speeches at Hyde Park - heard what was going on via Twitter and came to join in. Eventually the bloc began to break up and fragment as the front group ran on ahead with the smaller groups continuing to target shops. Towards the end one of the smaller groups decided to do an impromptu road blockade by sitting down in the middle of Oxford Street; this was eventually broken up by police. Overall there were few arrests but a lot of intelligence gathering by the police.
IMC UK Features