‘Austerity bunting’: UK Uncut host alternative Jubilee street party on Manchester’s Market Street

By Ian Silvera

‘Austerity bunting’, a ‘Clegg and spoon race’ and ‘upper-class austerity twits’ were all part of UK Uncut’s alternative jubilee street party in Manchester today.

The 1940s style party on Market Street was an opportunity for campaigners to have fun while showing that they do not support the Coalition Government’s financial cuts.

Attendees baked cakes, bought ‘austerity’ bunting and even had a pop-up library.

Local poets, a folk band and an all female choir all performed at the event.

Co-organiser Zoe Dexter said the street party was very exciting and was glad that so many people turned up.

Although she wanted people to have a good time, the alternative jubilee street party showed that UK Uncut supporters are against the government’s cuts.

The 19-year-old added: “We’ve had a lot people coming up to us and calling Cameron and Clegg ‘b**gers’ and others are just happy to have a street party.”

The University of Manchester student, originally from Doncaster, set up a Facebook event with co-organiser Eve Waterside to publicise the street party and word spread from there.

She said: “I initially wanted to travel to the London street party, but then I thought Manchester is a big city and we should have one here.”

There were hundreds of people at the protest party today and their Facebook group attracted just under 200 attendees.

Ms Waterside said: “We’ve got a fantastic array of creative ideas on display and the best thing is that all sorts of people have turned up.”

The 25-year-old said she has noticed that the government’s austerity measures have already had a negative impact on Manchester.

She said that youth and community services have been shutdown in Moss Side and things are only going to get worse.

The student nurse is also worried about the future of the NHS, she said: “The restructuring of the NHS is very worrying, the government seems to be privatizing it – I’m worried that it may become an institution more interested in profit than people.”

Despite voting for Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in the last general election, Ms Waterside said that she would be either not voting or will support the trade union and socialist alliance.

The event was a family-friendly one and some activists bought their children along.

Katrina Lawrie was there with her four children –Dylon Cunliffe, 9, Erin Cunliffe,7, Benjamin Cunliffe, 6, and Ruby Cunliffe, 4- to the demonstration.

The 34-year-old explained that she was very worried about the Coalition’s cuts and their impact on the working classes.

She said: “We need to show Clegg and Cameron that the working class people of this country won’t stand for their vicious financial measures.”

Fellow anti-cuts protest group Occupy Manchester joined with UK Uncut in solidarity at the street party.

Activist Dan Fernandez, dressed as an ‘upper class austerity twit’ explain that he is sick of the measures the government are forcing on people.

The 27-year-old said: “The ruling class don’t care about us – they’re out for themselves.”

He added: “Clegg and Cameron have given more money to the people who have got us here in the first place. We’re here to show that we find their policies are insulting.”

The street party in Manchester was part of UK Uncut’s national day of action to protest against what they call ‘unprecedented attacks’ on public services.

A spokesman for the direct-action group said: “This is a government of millionaires, by millionaires, for millionaires.”

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