ALMOST 1,000 people marched through Cardiff city centre on Saturday in protest against government austerity.
The turnout dwarfed that of the previous weekend’s protest, also organised by Cardiff People’s Assembly (CPA), at which singer Charlotte Church’s “mad as hell” speech attracted national coverage.
She attended the follow-up march but did not speak, while actor Michael Sheen also tweeted his backing for the marches.
The post-march rally was a forum for trade unionists and representatives of community organisations from anti-fracking groups to Grandparents Caring for Grandchildren.
“Thank you all for turning up in such numbers to tell the Tories that we are not going to accept their cuts,” said CPA secretary Adam Johannes.
Campaigner Jamie Insole said: “Next stop is the battle for the libraries. We demand that our representatives get out of their bunkers and stand by communities.”
He gave notice of a further protest this Wednesday at 6pm outside the Grade II-listed Roath Library, which is threatened with closure.
General union Unite’s Sue Leader noted that a week on from the general election “we face 259 more weeks of the Tories in power and I will not be wasting those weeks away.
“We have it within our power to challenge this government at every lousy step it makes.”
Communications union CWU Cardiff branch secretary Amarjite Singh criticised the Labour Party’s election campaign, accusing the party of failing to challenge the austerity narrative.
“We need a left-wing alternative to the campaign for cuts. Either we push Labour to the left or we have to build a new left-wing force,” he said.
Public-sector union Unison’s Dominic MacAskill said that the “Tories and their allies in big business and the media have effectively translated a crisis of finance capitalism into a crisis of the public sector.”
He urged a build-up of resistance by mobilising communities “but also by using our own mass organisations” — the trade unions, which have half a million members in Wales.
“So my one clear message today is — join a union,” Mr MacAskill roared to loud applause. email@example.com