'David Cameron is clueless': Ed Miliband joins austerity protesters in London

 

Nurses, firefighters, teachers and prison officers joined over 150,000 protesters today in huge demonstrations against the Government, loudly cheering calls for a 24-hour general strike.

Union officials and politicians, including Labour leader Ed Miliband, bitterly attacked the coalition's spending cuts, accusing ministers of being more interested in supporting millionaires than ordinary workers.

The events in London, Glasgow and Belfast passed off peacefully, although activists from the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) group staged a sit-in and cut off traffic close to Hyde Park in the capital.

The TUC said the turnout was better than expected and sent a strong message to the Government about the unpopularity of its policies.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: "We are sending a very strong message that austerity is simply failing.

"The Government is making life desperately hard for millions of people because of pay cuts for workers, while the rich are given tax cuts."

Mr Barber said the resignation of chief whip Andrew Mitchell and Chancellor George Osborne travelling in a first class train carriage with a standard ticket showed how out of touch the Government was.

He said: "The Chancellor eventually paid for his ticket, but the rest of us are paying the price for his disastrous policies."

Protesters carried banners which read: 'Plebs Against toffs', 'Cameron Has Butchered Britain' and '24 Hour General Strike Now' they marched through Whitehall towards Hyde Park.

They booed at Downing Street and shouted "pay your taxes" as they passed a Starbucks coffee shop.

Police officers stood outside Starbucks, which has been involved in a row over its tax arrangements.

Activists gathered outside a number of chain stores in central London, some wearing masks, but no major incidents were reported.

Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, said hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs were being lost as a result of government policies.

"We are fighting for a better future. We are not here today for the millionaires - we are here for the millions of people who don't have a voice. We just can't take any more."

Unite leader Len McClusky said millions of people were being pushed into poverty by a Government more interested in supporting the country's "elite".

The biggest cheers of the day came when Bob Crow, leader of the RMT rail union, and Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services union called for a general strike.

The TUC is consulting unions on the practicalities of a nationwide stoppage, although it will not be in time to take part in a Europe-wide day of action on November 14 against austerity.

Mr Miliband dubbed the Prime Minister "clueless" and said he was "clinging" to policies which were not working.

He said the coalition was cutting taxes for millionaires and raising them for everyone else.

"It is one rule for those at the top and one rule for everyone else."

Mr Miliband was booed by a small section of the crowd when he said Labour would have to make "hard choices" if it was in Government.

He pledged that if he became Prime Minister he would tax bankers' bonuses, support the building of 100,000 houses and end the privatisation of the NHS.

The disabled protesters forced cars and buses to turn around.

Paddy Murphy, a 37-year-old DPAC member, said the group was trying to send a message to both the Government and the unions.

"We want to show our solidarity with all those out there that couldn't be here today who have been hit by the Government's cuts.

"We are critical of the lack of a stance that the TUC hasn't taken - 18 months ago we heard the same people make the same speeches on the same stage, now we want to see action."

Protesters blew whistles and held up giant balloons and banners, headed by a group of unemployed youngsters from across the country.

Marr Wrack, leader of the Fire Brigades Union, suggested taking direct action in support of public services.

"If they plan to close hospitals, schools or youth centres, the local community should consider occupying them to prevent closure.

"After all, isn't that just the big society in action."

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering