It isn’t long since we saw Lewisham’s people storm their council meeting. Now a wave has started! So Far, Cambridge, Royal Holloway, Leeds, Peterborough, Haringey, Southwark, York, Bristol, Lambeth and Nottingham have targeted and even occupied in protest against their council’s cuts!

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Bristol

Protestors packed the public gallery to show that, unlike the council, they don’t think millions of cuts against the services the most needy rely on, is a case of ‘business as usual’


as at 2.50pm, the gallery has been cleared because people dared to interfere in this tightly controlled ‘democratic process’, and at least one person has been arrested for speaking their mind.

Is this the democracy our politicians boast of to other countries? Or is TRUE democracy the one thing that keeps them up at night?

Get down to the council house and make your own mind up! Demonstrations expected for the rest of the afternoon and early evening.

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Southwark

About 150 people gathered outside Southwark Town Hall to protest against the cuts on Tuesday 22nd.

Several people gave speeches highlighting the different areas where the cuts will have devastating effects on the borough. Many others used the demo to mobilise for the 26 of March demonstration, calling for that demo to be the beginning of the biggest protest movement in the UK for more than a century.

See pics and video of the protest.

Speakers addressed especially Labour councillors, asking them to make a descision which side they want to be on, the side of the goverment, or the side of the people who fight against the ConDem plans.

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Nottingham

Nottingham City Unison organised a public protest at 12.30-1.30pm in the Market Square, in front of the Council House.

Today, the City Council Executive Board discussed and recommended the 2011/12 budget to the full council.

Thus, Unison had called a public demonstration with speakers. They Said:

“With £60 million cuts threatening up to 600 jobs at the city council, staff facing pay cuts and 7,000 vulnerable people facing withdrawal of their voluntary sector support, city services are in crisis.  Nottingham city unison calls on all council staff, service users, voluntary sector groups and the public in Nottingham, join our protest.

We are standing up for Nottingham, and we think the city council should do too.  We demand the government returns the £60 million stolen from it in this year’s grant settlement.

We also call upon the city council’s leaders to join us in this fight.”

Notts Save Our Services Demo 1 The March

Notts Save Our Services Demo 2 The Speeches etc

We Love Nottingham Services: Cards against cuts

Nottingham Students Protest Against Scrapping EMA

Action on fees and education cuts in Nottingham

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Leeds

There was a demonstration today outside the Civic Hall as Leeds City Council met to decide on this years budget.

The Council meeting was to decide the fate of Leeds Crisis Centre, Leisure Centres, Adult Social Care and other services.

To stop these cuts being pushed through the Council chambers have been occupied.

The occupiers have asked (by text) for support and entered the building at around 1:30pm today (Wednesday).

More info about the campaign to save Leeds Crisis Centre here.

Mainstream coverage of the proposed cuts here.

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Demonstrators stormed the council chamber as Leeds city councillors met to thrash out a £90m cuts programme.

Dozens of protesters waving placards and chanting forced the meeting at Leeds Civic Hall to be delayed by 90 minutes.

The council’s savings proposals include the cutting of 3,000 jobs as well as closing day care facilities, leisure centres and a homeless centre.

Police were called to clear the protesters from the building.

A police spokesman said: “Officers dispersed people who were in the chamber. It all passed peacefully.”

The budget proposals were approved after councillors at the Labour-run authority reconvened.

Labour councillor Richard Lewis said: “The councillors were scattered to different rooms. The police removed the protesters and after 90 minutes we met again and approved the budget.”

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Lambeth

Hundreds of people gathered outside Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton Square to protest
the Council Meeting which planned to meet to make the decision about the cuts.

When the meeting started, people entered the building. Security and police tried to
limit the number of people, only allowing a few poeple to get to the gallery, but people
pushed their way in. When the gallery was packed, people demanded the rest of the public
to be allowed to enter and kept the council meeting from starting. After several
helpless attempts by the mayor to control the situation, the councillors and the mayor
gave up and left the council chamber, and about 150 more people managed to enter and occupy
the Town Hall.

The occupiers then held a public meeting about organising against the cuts in the council chamber, with many speakers from different groups and initiatives. ( This video only covers one speech about the planned closures of public libraries and by some children from Loughborough Junction about the scrapping of funding of playground

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Lambeth Save Our Services anti-cuts protesters occupy Lambeth Town Hall’s Council Chamber during final Council budget vote.

Protesters made their way into Lambeth Town Hall and the Council Chamber where voting was taking place for savage cuts to the borough’s budget of around £37,000,000.00.

It seems the first protesters pushed their way into the public gallery (despite some punches been thrown by town hall security) to make their feelings known and shortly after a man carrying a child walked into the chamber itself (giving a voice against the grotesque theatre of democracy that was being carried out through voting for these enormous budget cuts) – this triggered the disbandment of voting proceedings and while the councillors were leaving we, a third set of protesters, entered the chamber where we also made our feelings known.

The council budget vote continued elsewhere however and was passed – well, surprise surprise!

The protesters then set up an alternative budget debate and vote. With some interesting discussion and lively debate – a vote against the budget cuts was passed unanimously.

The question was then raised as to whether we would occupy the council chamber or leave the building. The vote was split, with one section leaving and the other staying to occupy the building.

Stop the cuts! We are being robbed!

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York

video

Five protesters at York Guildhall jumped from the public gallery on to a table to chant.

Protestors have stormed a council meeting in York, which was discussing cuts of £21m, after jumping from the public gallery.

The City of York Council was discussing its budget for next year which could include up to 170 job losses when the disruption happened.

The group jumped from the public gallery onto a table and shouted.

Liberal Democrats and Conservative councillors left the meeting while the police brought it under control.

The meeting was later resumed.

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Haringey

Several hundred people protested outside the budget meeting at wood green civic centre tonight.

video

The building was occupied, and more than twenty people managed to break through a small police line and enter the council chamber, where they delayed the council meeting by nearly two hours. two were arrested after 3 van loads of TSG officers were called in to clear the building. A solidarity vigil was quickly organised outside hornsey police station where they were taken.

A crowd of several hundred people gathered tonight outside the wood green civic centre, where haringey councillors were due to pass cuts of £87 million over three years, with more than a thousand jobs to go and three quarters of the youth service being destroyed. The cuts will also hit the elderly with care homes and drop-in centres being targeted.

The closure of youth services will have knock-on effects after years of good work. I spoke to staff from a youth project ‘the base‘ which is already a volunteer run ‘big society’ service, but the cuts have already taken their toll and the project is losing its building next month. The project worked with local police and helped steer young people away from crime and gangs.

After some speeches from local activist organisations and an open mic, the crowd moved into the building, and at first queued politely for the public gallery, but soon decided to attempt an occupation of the council chamber.

A handful of police failed to stop people from mounting the stairs, and half a dozen police tried to preven access to the council chamber, but the weight of numbers provided the power to push through and despite some police violence, more than 20 people managed to invade the chamber with banners.

The public gallery then filled up, and in the chamber, with no councillors attending the meeting, a budget of no cuts was passed by the newly formed people’s assembly.

However, elsewhere in the building, the greedy, careerist, self-serving councillors had found another space. suddenly the fire alarms went off, and (useful to remember in similar buildings) the doors operated by a swipe-card system all opened to allow evacuation. A group of a dozen or so protestors managed to push past a couple of police and headed down a corridor to where the councillors were skulking.

As more police pushed the protestors back, and the councillors made a hasty retreat through a fire exit, three vanloads of TSG turned up and flooded the corridor. People were pushed back and down some stairs, where some fell, and two people were arrested.

Meanwhile, in the chamber, the activists were told by a councillor that they must leave the building or that he would ask the police to arrest them. after some discussion, a concensus was reached, and while people on the ground floor were being forcibly removed from the building by TSG officers, the occupiers and the people in the public gallery walked out together as a group. After some more noisy protesting outside the chamber, a group headed down to hornsey police station for a solidarity protest over the two who were arrested.

Almost immediately, the councillors, who it seems had been waiting outside the back of the building, then poured in through the back door and up to the council chamber. There, starting their meeting two hours later than scheduled, they proceeded to vote through the devastating cuts.

Last year Haringey’s director of children and young people’s service received a salary and pension contribution of £282,670. Tonight, he voted to pass a 75% cut to  haringey’s youth service.

Playgroup closure

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Magnificent anti-cuts demo leads to occupation of council chamber

Haringey Civic Centre occupied by hundreds of anti-cuts protestors
Stop Press from a HAPS member, 11.30pm Thursday 24th February

Haringey Civic Centre was occupied on Thursday 24th February by hundreds of anti-cuts protestors for 2 hours. The angry residents were calling on the Council to refuse to implement savage cuts to vital public services.

The occupation followed a huge protest rally outside the Civic Centre, in which a wide range of diverse groups of all ages and interests from Haringey’s local communities demonstrated their concern to stand up for their local services and facilities. Among the demonstrators were large contingents of children from threatened play schemes, older people defending vital drop-in centres, trades unionists, turkish activists and many community organisations.

Councillors were forced to abandon their meeting when protestors stormed into the Council Chamber and took it over – shouting ‘No Cuts’ and ‘Whose Town Hall? Our Town Hall’. They then held their own meeting.

After police finally forced residents to leave, the Council held their meeting. Despite heartfelt and intelligent speeches from representatives of the Haringey Alliance for Public Services and youth campaigners, the Council unfortunately voted through the brutal government-driven cuts, the worst the borough has ever known.

However, there have been similar mass protests all over the UK in recent weeks, including an occupation of the Town Hall in Lambeth on the 23rd February. The grass roots movement continues grow and the Government is gradually being forced onto the defensive. If the pressure continues to increase, the Government can be forced to reverse its unacceptable and now discredited cuts programme.

At the protest, HAPS distributed hundreds of leaflets to publicise a special ‘Fight The Cuts’ strategy day of discussions they are organising for March 6th. There were calls during the rally for the future occupation of facilities facing closure, for increasing solidarity and protests, and for industrial action to protect services and jobs. There were also calls for a massive Haringey contingent for the national anti-cuts demonstration on March 26th which is expected to be one of the largest protests ever seen in the UK.

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Royal Holloway

A group of student Anti Cuts activists have occupied Royal Holloway’s premises on Bedford Square in central London.

They have reclaimed the space to use as a centrally located hub for all student anti cuts groups to organize and hold events! If you’re in the vicinity pop in and show your support!!

http://rhacc.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/royal-holloway-students-occupy-in-central-london/

11 bedford square, corner of montague place and gower street.

In related news ucl pi reports on the UCL line regarding the other occupation that started yesterday at the end of the dayx4 protests – see below. The UCL refectory occupation held a general meeting last night to discuss demands. The next general meeting is 11am Saturday – stay up to date here: http://twitter.com/ucloccupationhttp://www.ucloccupation.com/

http://www.pimedia.org.uk/news/college-comment-on-re-occupation.html

“The College is already underway in putting a stop to the occupation that began in the Old Refectory last night.

The court order obtained by the College in December 2010 to evict occupiers of the Jeremy Bentham Room did not cover the whole building. A UCL spokesperson told Pi: ‘UCL will need another court order to secure this eviction, and we are currently discussing with our lawyers how best to go about this…we intend to secure the court order as soon as possible…to enable normal working to resume.’”

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Statement of Intent from the Bedford Square Occupation

The poorest and most vulnerable in society are being attacked – this is no longer a distant, ominous future. It is happening now. The program of austerity being conducted by this government condemns us all.

To defeat it, students must join with the wider anti-cuts movement. We share the same goals and we must share the same spaces. To co-ordinate, organise and build the movement we must come together. Communities, take your spaces. Students, take all spaces.

Inspired by the campaigns and actions springing up across the country, we are opening this as a space to link up and share ideas and strategies for how to fight the cuts.

We urge others around the country to act now. Resistance is an emergency situation, and the escalation towards the demo on March 26th is our most urgent task. We can never win in isolation, but everything is possible if we recognize our collective strength. Occupy everywhere. Link up. Find each other. Resist.

Anti-Cuts Space London.

anticutsspace.wordpress.com

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Peterborough

Protesters jeer as Peterborough city budget passed

Cuts to public services totalling £75m over the next five years have been approved by Peterborough City Council.

Its annual government grant has been reduced by £15m and council tax rises have been frozen at 2.5% in line with a Conservative election pledge.

Between 170 and 180 jobs will go with around 75 workers facing compulsory redundancy at the unitary authority.

About 30 protesters burnt a copy of the budget, calling it a “symbolic act”, and heckled councillors.

The council has cut £28m from the 2011/12 budget which has been set at £368m for the same period.

The Conservative-controlled authority voted for a package of measures that include cutting children’s services spending by 10% over five years.

The operations department which looks after roads, transport and planning will cut its budget by 20% over the same period.

Investing in growth

Council grants to help people with home improvements will be cut by 40%, and there will be 25% less money allocated to adapting homes of disabled residents.

Adult social care needs to find £2m of savings, while the council’s communications budget will be reduced by 40%.

“If you can’t afford to pay those charges you won’t pay them.””

Marco Cereste City Council leader

But the authority said it was still investing in growth.

It will spend £150,000 a year on developing the case for a university in Peterborough, and will continue with a £2m redevelopment of the Moyes End Terrace at the city’s football club.

The council’s Conservative leader, Marco Cereste, said he and his colleagues had done all they could to protect frontline services

He said there would be no more cost cutting on top of what had already been outlined over the next three of four years – unless the council was forced to do so.

Mr Cereste said: “All the cuts we’ve put in place are able to be means tested so if you can’t afford to pay those charges you won’t pay them.”

But Nazim Khan, one of three Labour councillors on the council, said: “These are massive cuts, massive redundancies. We fear there will be nobody left to deliver the services.”

There was also criticism, rejected by Mr Cereste, that councillors’ allowances totalling about £700,000 a year should be cut further.

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Comments
  1. […] Solidarity Demo at Hornsey Police Station Posted: 27/02/2011 by Eddie Unity in Solidarity!, Welfare and Public Services Tags: haringey hornsey cuts welfare police protest demonstration occupation 0 See the Recent Community Actions Against the Cuts, including Haringey  HERE! […]

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