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A River Of Red: Women Will March Against A DUP Deal

22/06/2017 09:17 BST | Updated 22/06/2017 09:18 BST
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This Saturday, a river of red made up of women and our supporters will be marching on Downing Street. We will be wearing red in protest at all the blood which has been shed under austerity and in protest at any deal with the DUP where human rights are exchanged for Tory retention of power. Enough is enough.

I have a seven-year-old daughter, Megan. Her body belongs to her and her alone. It is hers to run and jump and to try to fly. Her rights over her body are not a bargaining chip to be exchanged for power. Globally we have seen a growing attack on all of our sisters, mothers and daughters with the rise to power of Trump and the impact this has in terms of the gag rule over worldwide health funding. UK reproductive rights cannot be a domino to fall in a snatch back of hard fought for rights. When abortion is not freely accessible, women die. In Northern Ireland women still cannot access abortion locally, having to navigate travelling to the mainland to keep control over their own bodies. A DUP deal would be a disaster for women and any others who need to access abortion.

We will wear red for the blood shed in the all-out class war which has been waged by the Tory government. Last week saw the heart-breaking fire at Grenfell Tower. This was not an apolitical act - it is the racialised, gendered consequence of a government prepared to sacrifice health and safety. Poor housing in a women's issue, with lone mothers living in some of the worst conditions.

We will wear red for all innocent civilians and troops who have lost their lives during years of military intervention in the Middle East, and red for the blood of those in the UK who have paid the price with their lives. Women number greatly amongst those who pay for their lives for wars they have no say in, and Muslim women are amongst those most vulnerable to the far-right venom which has been allowed to breed under racist scapegoating to strengthen the political mandate for austerity.

We will wear red for all the disabled people who have lost their dignity, comfort and lives in the shameful use of work assessments and who have come at the cruellest end of cuts. Disabled women have been key in fighting against the injustice of the last seven years and will be with us.

We will wear red for the hard fought for LGBT+ rights being jeopardised by a potential DUP deal. The DUP support homophobic legislation including the right to discriminate against LGBT+ people due to "conscience". Like reproductive rights, there is a global backlash to allow hate against LGBT+ people to be protected as "freedom" and it must be fought.

We will wear red for all the blood shed in reaching the Good Friday Agreement and the scandalous decision to disregard this in the bid to hold on to power.

Theresa May may be a woman but she is directly threatening the rights, freedoms and lives of women along with that of LGBT+ people, working class people, people from ethnic minorities and disabled people. Our aim in marching on Downing Street is to demand that this ends, and to show that we will not quietly go along with our right to exist being sold down the river. Wear red and join us at Whitehall at 12 noon (or online using the hashtags #NoDUPDealMarch and #RedRiver) and tell the government that we will not stand by.