In the wake of the recent election, protesters took to the streets across the country just 48 hours after David Cameron’s return to Downing Street. The call of these disenfranchised campaigners? An end to the austerity that will surely follow another 5 years of Conservative rule.
Whilst relatively humble in number, with an estimated 100 gathering outside Conservative headquarters, although later reports have described the protesters in their thousands, and 200 joining the rally in Cardiff, the people have made their point explicitly clear with placards promising that they will “pledge to resist” and demanding an end to the damaging and dangerous cuts and privatizations that are already underway following the previous LibCon coalition.
The clashes that took place outside Downing Street were reported as swiftly taking a violent turn on behalf of the protesters, with one officer hospitalised after suffering from a dislocated shoulder as well as traffic cones and green smoke bombs being thrown at the Met. Unsurprisingly, there have been no reports that the protesters suffered from any injuries despite photographs from the scene showing officers striking out against the campaigners as well as the threat of batons. This is symptomatic of a larger issue that has plagued not just the UK but the world press; an undeniable right-wing bias of the media that criticises those exercising their democratic voice. With media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch at the top, it is no surprise that those demonstrating anti-Tory sentiment are at best ignored and at worst demonised for their actions.
The marches that took place can be seen as the inevitable result of the surprise Conservative victory, reflecting the anger and disillusionment felt by the 63.1% of the electorate who voted for an end to Tory rule. And it is unlikely to be the last. Already the world of social media is flooded with promises of future protests, my own Facebook page already displaying 3 organised demonstrations all aimed at showing the discontent felt towards another government led by David Cameron.
Despite media attempts to underplay these protests, with only minor coverage of the events that at best were misinformed and at worst were factually inaccurate about both numbers and actions, it cannot be denied that these protests are just the beginning in a long battle to see the end of Tory rule. They echo the (rightful) fear felt by the poor, the disabled and the young of this country who will suffer at the hands David Cameron and his policies that can only be described as exploitative and unfair.
These events are the foreshadowing of 5 years of hard fought battles, the best, and perhaps the only, way to make our voices heard. After the bitter disappointment felt on Election Day, these protests are the storm after the calm that I predict will punctuate the political landscape of the UK for the foreseeable future.