Crowds of tens of thousands of people gathered in various cities in the U.K. Saturday as part of a large anti-austerity rally. The largest crowd marched through central London, BBC reported, where protesters marched from the Bank of England to the House of Parliament before branching off.
The swelling protests drew crowds that included celebrities, politicians and union leaders rallying against the cuts made to government expenditure by the U.K.’s Conservative government. Many worry that these cuts will have a deep effect on schools, hospitals and other publically-funded services, rendering them unable to adequately serve the public. The government, however, says that the austerity moves are necessary in order to cut the deficit.
â€” BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 20, 2015
According to a report by the BBC, singer Charlotte Church, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and actor and comedian Russell Brand were among the people in attendance at the rally was and all three are expected to make a speech at Parliament Square.
The Guardian reported that Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was also in attendance, and told crowds that “austerity is making the poor pay for the greed and the fraud of the bankers and we are not going to take it anymore.”
â€” Unite the union (@unitetheunion) June 20, 2015
The protests were organized by a group known as the People’s Assembly, which calls itself nonpartisan and is made up of several smaller groups that are generally opposed to cuts, privatization and austerity.
“It will be the start of a campaign of protest, strikes, direct action and civil disobedience up and down the country,” Sam Fairbairn of the People’s Assembly told Sky News of Saturday’s protests. “We will not rest until austerity is history, our services are back in public hands the needs of the majority are put first.”
Crowds at the London rally featured people of varying ages, races and genders, showing just how many feel they are affected by austerity changes. Speaking to the Guardian, high school student Owen Winter says he fears for his future under the government cuts.
“I’m demonstrating because I feel that cuts are particularly harsh for young people and affect them quite negatively and I think that I’m going to grow up dealing with repercussions,” Winter said. “Generally I think young people get a raw deal out of politics.”