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THOUSANDS of people in more than 20 towns and cities across Britain marched on Saturday in protest at the cost-of-living crisis that threatens to drive millions more people into poverty.
They rallied at Downing Street and demonstrated from Birmingham to Bournemouth, Cardiff to Cambridge, Manchester to Milton Keynes and Preston to Portsmouth.
At some rallies, sacked P&O ferry strikers formed contingents.
Domestic energy prices increased by 54 per cent last Friday, condemning Britain’s worst-off people to destitution and threatening to tip those just getting by into poverty.
At the gates of Downing Street, about 100 people waved placards reading “tax the rich” and “freeze energy bills, not people.”
Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts told of an old lady who had “been sitting in the dark for three days because she had no money for the key meter.
“She can’t afford to pay these increases. We can’t.
“For disabled people, older people, low-income workers, we’ve had 12 years of austerity, two years of a pandemic — this government are killing people.”
Eddie Dempsey, assistant general secretary of rail union RMT, vowed that the labour movement would not tolerate the treatment of P&O workers, “dragged off their ships” by “paramilitary security guards with balaclavas and handcuffs.”
He saluted solidarity actions with P&O workers, calling for a united struggle for public ownership of transport and energy.
Bafta-winning actor Marlon Kameka quoted Friedrich Engels’s observation that “social murder is when the political class pushes the working classes into a position which ultimately leads to an early and unnatural death.
“By that metric, the Conservatives are guilty of murder," he charged.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I was in a foodbank this morning talking to people there that don’t want food that they have to cook, because they can’t afford to turn the gas and electricity on to cook it.
“The answer isn’t to give in to the energy companies and the greed of the speculators — it’s price caps on gas and electric and taking those industries into public ownership.”
In Manchester, about 500 marchers were led by the Public and Commercial Service union’s samba band, which has played at hundreds of protests.
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