Hastings protesters swell anti cuts march

The local Labour Party banner at the march
The local Labour Party banner at the march
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MORE than 200 people from Hastings and St Leonards joined a massive march in London recently calling for a Government re-think over the public spending cuts.

Four coach-loads left 1066 Country early on Saturday morning and joined up with the rally - organised by the Trades Union Congress - which is estimated to have attracted between 250,000 and 400,000.

And despite shocking pictures showing a tiny minority of participants attacking shops and lighting fires in the streets, Sam Buckley, of Hastings Against the Cuts, said: “It was a huge success. The march was absolutely huge and it was ordinary people – nurses, social workers, bin men, firefighters – the men and women who do the essential work in our society.

“The message was that people need and use our public services and the people who provide them deserve better working conditions and more job security.

“The newspapers and television cameras will focus on the dramatic scenes but most people didn’t even see any violence - including me. I didn’t see it and I would certainly be against violence against people, but I would not condemn the fact that some of the stores in Oxford Street were targeted.”

GMB union activist and local party member Sarah Owen said the turnout showed just how fearful all sections of society were.

“From toddlers to pensioners, people in Hastings are being hit hard by the cuts,” she said. “Although there was a great atmosphere, there was a genuine sadness at the reality of the vast number of people from the town who will lose their jobs, services and chance of a decent education.”

And Mr Buckley said there was an alternative to the Government cuts, if the authorities clamped down on big companies who do not pay their fair share of taxes. “It is almost voluntary for the major corporations to pay the full whack,” he said.

And he vowed that Saturday’s march was “just the start” of a coordinated campaign against the cuts. His group is organising a march on Saturday, April 16, assembling at Hastings Pier at 12.30pm and heading towards the town centre.