Huffpost UK Politics uk

Conservative Party Conference 2011: 35,000 Protestors Take To The Streets Of Manchester

Posted: Updated:
MANCHESTER
PA

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Around 35,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Manchester as the Conservative Party conference began in the city.

The huge protest swamped the city centre, marching past the heavily guarded venue where Prime Minister David Cameron's Tory party is gathered.

Blowing whistles and horns and waving flags and banners claiming Cameron's "Tory Fat Cats" were to blame for coalition public sector cuts the noisy demo chanted "Tories out!" as they began the march.

Organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), it was billed as a march and rally for "The Alternative - jobs, growth, justice" in opposition to the coalition's axing of public services and pensions.

Huge numbers of mainstream public sector unions and workers, including fire fighters and teachers, took part along with a range of left-wing activists.

Police were on alert for extremists attempting to hijack the peaceful union protest, with mounted police, vans and officers lining the march route but no arrests were made.

At the end of the march protesters converged for a mass rally. Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, to a round of applause and cheers, told the crowd: "One blue is even less welcome here than Carlos Tevez, and that's David Cameron. David Cameron is not welcome in this city!"

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, told the crowd: "We need a coalition of resistance, of trade unions, community groups, church organisations, and students and of our senior citizens, an amazing coalition of resistance to engage in every form of resistance, including co-ordinated industrial action. If you want to call it a general strike then so be it.

"The reality is civil disobedience is the oldest form of democracy and we should applaud it, we should applaud direct action and fantastic organisations like UK Uncut.

"We should take our lead from the young people, the students who this time last year put 60 - 70,000 on the streets of London. Let's raise the standard of justice and I'm confident that justice will prevail."

Around the Web

35000 protest outside Tory conference

Protesters mass in Manchester as Conservative conference begins

The Tories aren't welcome in Manchester, and we'll march to show it

'No violence tolerated' at Manchester protest - police