You may have noticed that today is the day when the unions are marching against the cuts. News media coverage seems good, with BBC News and Sky News both giving fairly constant coverage to the march. Although organised by the TUC, there are many organisations on the march. A great number of people are in Hyde Park listening to speeches, but there are so many people that the march was still arriving at 4pm! Estimates of total numbers soared to 400 – 500 thousand people in attendance. Read Why I’m marching tomorrow by @kaygeeuk, Why I’m marching tomorrow by @stavvers or New Statesman – Why I’m marching today for an overview. The march has been widely reported as a carnival atmosphere. Music, bands, vuvuzelas and other fun things. Such as a Trojan Horse!
Ed Milliband spoke to the crowds in Hyde Park around about 2pm. Well, the ones that had arrived, anyway. March organisers have been criticised for having Milliband speak since he does not completely oppose the cuts, and many are disappointed that Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green party, was not invited to speak.
Also at 2pm, UK Uncut broke away from the march and went to Oxford Street to occupy shops. Unfortunately this was overshadowed by a group of approximately 150 people dressed in black and wearing masks, who threw paint and fireworks outside Topshop and Topman and then went on to vandalise the inside of HSBC at Cambridge Square. Metropolitan Police claimed that lightbulbs filled with ammonia were thrown at them, although we have seen no evidence of this.
Around 4pm about 5,000 UKUncut protesters occupied Fortnum & Mason and surrounding area. See Press release: UK Uncut Occupy Tax Dodgers Fortnum and Mason. BBC News covered this including a phone call to BBC producer Almeena Ahmed who was inside with UK Uncut.
Later a fire was lit at Oxford Circus as a trojan horse was apparently burnt.
While UK Uncut where inside Fortnum & Mason, some of the black-clad protesters who had earlier thrown paint and fireworks and sprayed graffiti, climbed onto the roof to hang banners and spray more graffiti. The BBC alleged that they were from the Socialist Worker Party among other groups.
Many people that could not make it to the march for reasons of illness or disability took part in a virtual protest. Their names, messages and occasionally photos were listed on a map set up by Disabled People Against Cuts. (Disclaimer, I helped out with putting the names up.)
DPAC has also launched Disabled People Make History.