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Scottish Anti-Austerity Rally: Call For Fairness From Protesters In Glasgow

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Around 5,000 people took part in the march | AP

The people of Scotland do not want privilege but instead fairness and justice, anti-cuts protesters were told at a mass demonstration in Glasgow today.

Around 5,000 people took part in the march and rally led by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), according to a police estimate.

Placard-bearing groups of nurses, teachers and students gathered in the city's central George Square before marching to Glasgow Green.

They were joined by protesters from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith told the crowd: "The Prime Minister says he doesn't want to defend privilege, he wants to spread it.

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"Privilege of course means giving few an advantage over the many.

"That's why it's tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor.

"We don't want an extension of privilege, we want an extension of fairness and justice.

"We have an economy that's in crisis and what's George Osborne's priority?

"To try and entice workers to sell their employment rights for a few company shares and a tax bribe."

Speaking in George Square, Mr Smith said the priority should be fair taxation and a living wage, investment in quality jobs, strong trade unions and employment rights.

Protester Mel Kelly, 47, from Irvine, said: "The rich are getting prosperity and we're getting austerity.

"We all contribute, we all pay 50% of our wages or more in tax, yet the money is going to the banks instead of to the people and the services.

"We don't pay taxes to bail out banks, we pay tax for the sick, the elderly, the homeless."

Vivien Hamnett, 67, from Edinburgh, said she was taking part because of fears for her grandchildren's future.

"I've got three grandchildren and I'm here for them.

"I don't think any of them will ever be in a position to own a house. I worry about them."

She added: "There's lots of different groups here, and it's not just socialists, it's all sorts of folk and we are all united against that lot (the Government).

"The Government has told a lot of lies, but the worst is that we're all in this together."

Strathclyde Police said the demonstration went off with no incidents.

PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson said ahead of the protest: "Every PCS member marching has seen a vicious onslaught against their terms and conditions.

"They have had their pay frozen, their pensions entitlements ripped up and watched as job after job is lost from the public sector because of budget cuts."

Robin Parker, president of NUS Scotland, said: "Students are standing side-by-side with trade union and community members from across Scotland today because we don't want to see Westminster's austerity policies dump an entire generation on the scrapheap.

"There is a real threat that the UK Government's plans will result in a lost generation caught in a perpetual cycle of unemployment."