Thousands to gather in London to call for a general election

France’s ‘gilets jaunes’ will be joining the rally organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity

January 11, 2019

THOUSANDS of anti-austerity protesters from across Britain will take to the streets of London on Saturday to call for a general election to replace the failing Tory government.

Some protesters will be wearing yellow high-vis jackets to echo the “gilets jaunes” movement in France — two of France’s yellow jackets, Erick Simon and Laurie Martin, will be speaking at the end of the rally.

Ahead of the protest, Ms Martin said they were pleased to be joining the protesters in solidarity with those fighting British austerity.

At the protest, she will say: “Yellow jackets are rising up against this corrupt, unjust system, which widens the gap between the rich and the poor, which can only be ruled by the oligarchy and which no longer respects its people or even its own motto.

“We are fighting for better pensions, higher minimum pay and better pay and also for democracy in France.

“This yellow vest movement is made to last, it is a citizen movement created to defend democracy and human values. Faced with a government that turns a deaf ear, the determined people will remain mobilised.

“Our peoples must unite and become united against those governments that no longer listen to us.”

The pair arrived in King’s Cross St Pancras this evening and were met by a welcoming committee.

Coaches will be bringing protesters from across the country to join the rally organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity (PA).

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PA organiser Tom Griffiths said the government was using Brexit to distract people from austerity.

“It doesn’t matter which way you voted in the EU referendum,” he said. “The real division in our society is between the people at the top and the rest of us.

“And the only way to change this is to get a general election as soon as possible to get the Tory government out now — this is the essential duty of now, everything else has to come second.”

In 2017, the British Medical Journal revealed that 120,000 people had died as a direct result of austerity measures, Mr Griffiths said.

“Two people have died on the steps of Parliament, the centre of power in this country, and the Tory government does not care,” he added.

Trade union Unite has called for its members to join the demonstration and deputy general secretary Steve Turner will be taking to the stage to address the crowd.

“A broken Britain needs healing and it’s bigger than Brexit,” Mr Turner tweeted. “We need a new economy and a better politics that works for, listens to and speaks for the many not the few.”

Speakers will also include other union leaders, politicians such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow business minister Laura Pidcock, and a number of campaigners.

The demonstration will assemble at noon on Saturday January 12 outside the BBC in Portland Place and march to Trafalgar Square.

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