Current Events

People want change as tens of thousands of Britons protest against the cost-of-living crisis

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Across the UK, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the crisis in the cost of living, back-firing sanctions and climate change: the British expressed their disappointment with their government’s policies in these areas, reports The Independent. Simultaneously, 50,000 railroad workers went on strike across the country on Saturday.

In addition, according to the publication, some Britons took advantage of the wave of nationwide demonstrations to express their anger at the new budget policy of the cabinet of Prime Minister Liz Truss. 

‘The time has come to channel our collective anger into something active and productive. We are here at King’s Cross to support the RMT strike. In addition to supporting the strike, this is an opportunity to express the general feeling of disillusionment with our Tory government. The people want change and desperately need it and it needs to happen soon,’ said a participant in a demonstration at King’s Cross in London organized by Enough is Enough, a 500,000-strong group founded by trade unions and civil society organizations to combat rising fuel prices and out of control inflation.

Despite government attempts to cushion the blow from rising energy prices, such as freezing the maximum allowable annual electricity bill on October 1 for two years, millions of British families will still be in a grim situation. This is due to the rise in the cost of food and other everyday goods, while the salaries of the British do not keep up with soaring inflation.

The Don’t Pay movement called for a day of national action. Members of the movement set their electricity bills on fire in several cities, including London, to protest rising electricity bills. As part of the movement, some 500,000 people in the United Kingdom have said they are ready to stop paying their electricity bills.

In Glasgow, thousands of protesters gathered on the steps of the Buchanan Gallery. There on Saturday afternoon, activists from the Enough Is Enough campaign supported the unions that went on strike. Those gathered at the rally called for the resignation of the current government, and they chanted: ‘Tory, Tory, Tory! Get out, get out, get out!’ and ‘The workers, united, will never be defeated.’

In Belfast, hundreds of people gathered outside City Hall to demand more government action amid the cost-of-living crisis. Organized by the Cost-of-Living Coalition, the event featured representatives from trade unions, community groups and political parties.

One of those who spoke to the gathering was the Children’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland. According to her, in the region even before the start of the pandemic, about 110,000 children lived below the poverty line. 

‘I can’t even imagine what the situation will look like by Christmas,’ she warned, adding that there is every reason to fear that some children may die of hypothermia during the winter months this winter. ‘This is Northern Ireland and 2022 and we are concerned that children are dying of hypothermia.’

Meanwhile, dozens of environmental activists blocked traffic on Westminster Bridge. The crowd sat on the road, playing instruments and chanting slogans calling for the fight against climate change. Crowds also gathered at Euston Station, from where representatives of the Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion and Revolutionary Communist Group marched towards Westminster.

 ‘This is a climate emergency, people are already dying, and more people will die from the effects of climate change,’ the activist, who introduced herself as Meg, quotes the publication as saying. 

The Independent recalls that protests across the country are taking place against the backdrop of the largest railway strike in decades. On Saturday, more than 50,000 workers in the industry went on strike, and only about 11% of trains were running on schedule.

“Millions of us simply won’t be able to keep our heads above water and many will freeze when the weather turns cold,” a spokesman for the campaign said.

The protest took place as the new energy price cap took effect on Saturday, allowing the increase of the bill per average household from £1,971 ($2,201) annually to a record £2,500 ($2,792) in England, Scotland, and Wales.

The authorities say that without doing this, bills could reach £3,500 from October and rise as high as £6,500 next year.

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