Scores of people picketed Belfast's main jobcentre today to oppose the regressive Welfare Reform Bill and the attacks on social services and jobs.
Community workers, civil servants, lone parents and migrant workers massed peacefully outside the building in Great Victoria Street to demand social justice instead of austerity.
Eight women managed to enter the building at noon and staged a sit-in protest for about an hour.
A spokeswoman for the protesters warned that the changes in the Welfare Bill will erode the living standards of the most vulnerable.
"But unlike when the Poll Tax was introduced in 1989 in Britain, these changes are being introduced gradually so that not all groups of people are being hit at the same time.
"This has the effect of reducing the opposition to it. This protest today is the first in a series we have planned and we hope that other organisations and individuals will support our actions."
The Stormont executive aims to roll out the changes over the next five years. Some have already been implemented.
The devolved administration's legislation to replicate regressive reforms in Britain would see benefits capped at £26,000 a year for working age households.
Ministers intend to abolish the non-means-tested Health in Pregnancy grant of £190 and freeze child benefit for three years.
And local housing allowance for private rentals will be capped, meaning that Housing Benefit payments will not meet the full rent.
Protesters insisted that there is an alternative, noting that several billion pounds could be raised by introducing a 50 per cent tax rate on incomes over £100,000.
And they noted that billions more could be raised with an empty property tax on vacant dwellings, while over £10 billion could be raised every year by reforming the tax havens and residence rules to reduce tax avoidance by corporations and non-domiciled residents.
Organisers called on the British electorate to "show their disgust at Conservative and Liberal Democrats policies by not voting for them, and by copying our protest today all over Britain.
"We send greeting to our sisters at May Day rallies in Britain and Ireland today."
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