When we got down there, we joined a large group of a few of hundred people outside the steps of the Town Hall. There was a large mixture of ages and a politically diverse crowd. Goldsmiths students had marched down from their university, and of course the SWP and a ratbag crew of local anarchists were there. It was brilliant that the Goldsmiths students had marched down, I hope this is the start of students being part of the larger anti-cuts campaign and there being more solidarity between everyone facing these cuts.
There was the usual guy with a loud howler saying something that I couldn’t quite make out and people trying to get me to sign another bloody petition. Then there was word that although the council had said that 30 people were going to be allowed in to sit in the public gallery they had changed their mind. There were people already positioned near the doors to be let in and as we were told that we weren’t actually going to be allowed in there was a surge of people towards the doors. A handy door holding maneuver meant that people were able to storm the building.
Those of us who were stuck outside were then subjected to some rather enthusiastic and quite funny (when we were taking the piss out of them) plod. They weren’t shy in pushing, hitting and yelling at people who were actually just standing around. I’m pretty sure that riot shields are not supposed to be used sideways into people’s heads. Isn’t that saying “respect your elders”, not “push your elders down the stairs”, which the coppers seemed to get great excitement from doing. The resulting scuffle which started with the police being heavy handed was a great way to get some frustration out. But as usual the policing was completely over the top and unnecessary. Some of the crowd started off talking to the police about how they should be on our side because of the cuts to police budget, which didn’t go down very well. The guy who kept telling the coppers to form a union and go on strike only got a wack over the head as a response. After they started acting heavy handed, the chants then turned to “I hope your jobs get cut” and no one was trying to talk to them anymore.
The indignation of the cops when you push back was quite laughable, as their voices get rather high pitched. The cop who kept telling the others to grab hold of each others bums provided hours of fun, and I’m sure will continue to do so.
All in all and great night, and really set the bar for the rest of the anti- cuts movement. With the tube strike today, the student demonstration tommorrow and this fantasic action tonight, there is a real buzz about the anti-cuts movement – long may it continue! There should be people at every council meeting making sure that the people in power know that we will not be taking these stupid and unnecessary cuts lying down.