magazine

Queers Join Pension Rally

In Pensions, QUAC on 23/01/2012 at 5:57 pm

On November 30th, the day of the largest national strike in a generation, Queers Against the Cuts took our place in the demonstration in London.  Many of us arrived early at Lincolns Inn Fields and distributed placards for the Coalition of Resistance, to which we are affiliated. The famous ‘lollipop’ placards have become synonymous with the anti-cuts demonstrations of the last year. Turnout was huge and it was soon obvious that this was going to be no ordinary demonstration but a mass rally not just against the attempts of the ConDem government to cut the pensions of public service workers but also against the cuts in general. This was demonstrated by the large numbers of pensioners, children and others who were showing their solidarity with those of us from the 99% fighting against the vicious cuts imposed on us by the 1%.

There were banners and flags from every trade union imaginable – UNITE, UNISON, PCS, RMT etc. As Chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum, I personally welcomed several London Ambulance Service paramedics who were there in their uniforms. There were also banners from local anti-cuts groups and from Occupy London, who sent a large delegation.

We soon had our QUAC banner up and took off on the march to Victoria Embankment through the Strand and past Trafalgar Square. Those of us carrying the banner and giving out our leaflets came from UNISON, UNITE and included an LGBT pensioner, who had been active in the original struggle for LGBT rights in the 70s as I had been. The numbers of police along the route were phenomenal – an indication of the heavy handed policing which has become normal recently  – the cost to the taxpayer must have phenomenal.

The march was good natured but serious and there was virtually no trouble, although some friend from Occupy told me that they had been kettled briefly. Our banner attracted a lot of attention and was widely photographed. Finally, hungry and knackered, we retired to a pub in Waterloo. We had shown that the LGBTQ community is truly part of the 99% and that the swingeing cuts being directed at us and our organisations can and must be resisted.

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