Yesterday (Saturday 21st June 2014), more than 50,000 people marched through London and gathered in front of the Houses of Parliament to demonstrate against the government’s austerity measures.
The march, organised by The People’s Assembly, started at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House and ended in Westminster where the crowd were addressed by speakers, including Russell Brand and Mark Steel.
“The people of this building [the House of Commons] generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It’s time for us to take back our power,” said Brand.
“This will be a peaceful, effortless, joyful revolution and I’m very grateful to be involved in the People’s Assembly.”
“Power isn’t there, it is here, within us,” he added. “The revolution that’s required isn’t a revolution of radical ideas, but the implementation of ideas we already have.”
A spokesman for the People’s Assembly, which organised the march, said the turnout was “testament to the level of anger there is at the moment”.
He said that Saturday’s action was “just the start”, with a second march planned for October in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress, as well as strike action expected next month.
People’s Assembly spokesman Clare Solomon said: “It is essential for the welfare of millions of people that we stop austerity and halt this coalition government dead in its tracks before it does lasting damage to people’s lives and our public services.”
Sam Fairburn, the group’s national secretary, added: “Cuts are killing people and destroying cherished public services which have served generations.”
Activists from the Stop The War Coalition and CND also joined the demonstration.
The crowds heard speeches at Parliament Square from People’s Assembly supporters, including Caroline Lucas MP and journalist Owen Jones. Addressing the marchers, Jones said: “Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster – or the tax avoiders? It is selective anger.”
He added: “The Conservatives are using the crisis to push policies they have always supported. For example, the sell-off of the NHS. They have built a country in which most people who are in poverty are also in work.”
The People’s Assembly was set up with an open letter to the Guardian in February 2013. Signatories to letter included Tony Benn, who died in March this year, journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Ken Loach.
In the letter, they wrote: “This is a call to all those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government.
“The assembly will provide a national forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament.”
The Metropolitan police refused to provide an estimate. A police spokesman said the force had received no reports of arrests.
A spokesman for the prime minister declined to comment.
(Source: The Guardian)
We think that 50,000 people marching in protest against the government’s austerity measures and spend on warfare would be a significant news story – one which was worth reporting on.
However, you may not have heard that it took place – especially if your only source of news is the BBC.
In fact, if you take a look at the news sites of mainstream media there are only two newspapers who reported on the march, The Guardian (one of their journalists, Owen Jones, was on the march) and The Express. There was a report by Sky News, but the focus was on Russell Brand rather than the march and what it stood for.
There was nothing on the BBC’s national or local London news site, which is ironic because the march started right outside their main building in London – surely someone would have noticed 50,000 protesters chanting with placards aloft. It seems not – not even on the London local news section.
It demonstrates that the BBC are still very firmly under the control of the government when it comes to reporting on issues that matter to the majority of UK citizens – especially if those matters are directly critical of the government and its corrupt and draconian measures.
This is hardly the unbiased reporting the BBC claim is the foundation of its existence – or the basis on which the government justifies the extortionate licence fee for viewers.
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