The Anti-Cuts Protest In London – Part One

March 31, 2011

Some of you will have read about, or seen on TV, the anti-cuts protest we had in London on Saturday 26th March. I imagine you thought London was reaching Armageddon. It wasn’t quite like that. Here’s my experience.

I wanted to be at the march itself to show my disgust at the severity of the cuts and how it will affect the most vulnerable in our society, but I had booked and paid for my skate lesson in advance, so I couldn’t be there. However, because my lesson was in Hyde Park and I knew it was the venue for the end point of the march, I could be there for the speeches. And so it was that after my skate lesson, where I had a bad fall and scraped my arm while going for a manoeuvre (the other aches and pains hit me a day later), I walked to the entrance of the park where the marchers were streaming in. There were many official banners from various organisations, but I’m always impressed by the home made ones. They’re usually well designed and quite witty:

Protest banner depicting Margaret Thatcher

Protest banner David Cameron Hyde Park

Protest banner Nick Clegg Hyde Park

Protest march umbrella girls slogans on shirts

And a protest wouldn’t be a protest without people climbing statues:

Protesters on a statue Hyde Park

Protesters on statue Hyde Park (close up)

Once in the belly of the park, various organisations and union representatives made speeches. An impassioned plea for saving the arts was given by Sam West, son of actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales (Sybil from ‘Fawlty Towers’). A man representing disabled workers expressed his fears about how the cuts could affect him and others like him. A representative from the American and Canadian unions was great. He said one thing that made me laugh so much, I had to write it down, and it was this: “The best way to rob a bank is to manage one!”

Anti cuts protest main stage Hyde Park

Crowd at main stage Hyde Park

Crowd at main stage for anti cuts protest in Hyde Park

Unison balloon at anti cuts protest in Hyde Park

There was also entertainment. Some were quite good. Others not so much. But the crowd liked it nevertheless.

Crowd entertained at anti cuts protest in Hyde Park

I then started moving off because I was starting to feel the cold. I found myself gravitating towards a sound system where techno and drum and bass were playing and a small group were dancing and smoking.

Sound system at protest march in Hyde Park

Toy Tory banner using Toy Story graphics at protest in Hyde Park

In the middle of the group, giving it everything she had like her life depended on it was this lady:

Groovy old woman dancing at the protest in Hyde Park

She must’ve been at least eighty. Good luck to the bird.

The event was soon at an end and people moved towards the exits. Everyone was good-natured and there was no drama. It was like the end of an outdoor festival. I felt I was a small part of history that day.

Banners piled up against a treet at the end of the protest in Hyde Park

I left Hyde Park and started to make my way home. Well, I started to make my way home, but decided to take a detour. That’s when things got very tasty. All will be revealed in part two.



  1. These are remarkable pictures, Pie. I love people-powered events, and it gives me a sense of hope to know citizens in the nation most willing to join queues can still object to social injustice.

    • If there was an Olympic event for complaining and bitching, we’d win gold nearly every time. The Ausssies don’t call us Whingeing Poms for nothing. However, when our backs are against the wall, we come out fighting because we’re all about fair play, and what’s happening right now most definitely is not. I expect there’ll be more demos in the coming months and I hope I can be there to take photos as well as demonstrate as required, making sure I don’t get caught up again in the nonsense that is dogging our demos right now.

      Thanks for the photo compliment. I enjoy photography, though I don’t fully understand the rules. I just frame things as best as I can and hope I get a decent shot. Being able to crop some pics in Photoshop also helps. I think attending short courses, when I get round to it, should help me improve on technique. One day, when I’m able to earn enough to have proper disposable income, I will buy a much better camera. I’m currently working with my crappy compact, but I do the best I can with what I have.

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