Business, Economics and Jobs

London: austerity cuts protested by tens of thousands (VIDEO)


Demonstrators participate in a protest against the government's austerity measures on October 20, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of TUC members took part in a march against the government's austerity measures through London today which ended with a rally in Hyde Park, where Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed the demonstrators.


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As many as 150,000 people in London today rallied against the government's austerity cuts, organizers say, which would make it one of the largest economic protests seen in Britain this year, according to Reuters

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Police have not yet released figures. 

Britain's Conservative-led coalition government says the cuts are critical to reducing the deficit, which is the largest of any major European country at eight percent, said Reuters.

But protesters say the policy hurts the lives of ordinary workers and accuse British Prime Minister David Cameron's administration of being out of touch, reported BBC. Union leaders are said to be mulling plans for a nationwide strike. 

Today's rally comes a day after one of Cameron's top ministers was charged with using the word "plebs," a derogatory word for the working class, a misstep that has added to a perception of elitism, said Reuters

Labour leader Ed Miliband was quick to capitalize on anti-Conservative ire, calling the Prime Minister, whose campaign for election two years ago focused on the economy, "clueless" in a speech to demonstrators today, said The Independent. They listened quietly until Miliband said the Labour party would also need to make cuts if elected. Then they booed him, according to Reuters

Speeches took place after tens of thousands marched to London's Hyde Park carrying banners reading "Cameron Has Butchered Britain" and some called for a "24 Hour General Strike Now," reported The Independent

The Organiser Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Brendan Barber today said "evidence is mounting that austerity is failing," telling BBC the policy has lead to a "huge squeeze on wages and living standards" that has produced a "massive hit on confidence and on demand in the economy." The TUC represents 54 unions. 

Public frustration with the economy is widespread in Britain. Rallies were also seen in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Glasgow, Scotland today, according to Reuters

Watch The Telegraph's video report on the London event today below: