Thousands of protesters gathered in London on Saturday to protest the British government, calling for an end to austerity measures and a new general election in light of the impending departure of Britain from the European Union.
Politicians and union leaders from across the country came to attend The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which drew 5,000 to 10,000 demonstrators, according to the organizers’ initial estimates.
Austerity measures and Brexit have split the nation, according to the organizers. “Since the Tories took power, we’ve seen homelessness more than double,” says Steve Turner from the Unite trade union.
He added that the National Health Service, social care and schools were in disarray with crisis after crisis. “We are faced with a government completely out of touch with the everyday fears and concerns of the majority of people in this country,” he added.
Representatives of France’s “Yellow Vest” movement, which inspired the British demonstration, were also in London. “All European countries must join up in this battle against austerity,” said Erick Simon, according to the British Press Association news agency.
The Yellow Vest movement in France started in November in protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies. The name comes from the fluorescent high-visibility safety bibs the protesters wear; the London protesters donned them as well, with some adding the words “Britain is broken.”
Britain will leave the European Union at the end of March. On Tuesday, the British parliament is set to vote on a Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May and Brussels agreed. It’s unlikely the vote will go through, increasing chances of a chaotic no-deal Brexit.