‘River of Red’ marches to Downing Street

Red for "bloodshed": issues extended "beyond the DUP deal to austerity as well”, said one protestor. Photos: Emika Berry

By Emika Berry emika.berry@gmail.com
Hundreds marched from Parliament Square to Downing Street on Saturday in protest against the planned Conservative and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deal.

The Women’s March Against the DUP Deal gathered in support of LGBT, abortion and women’s rights.

Pura Ariza, University College Union (UCU) member, described the DUP as “reactionary, regressive, anti-LGBT, anti-equality proud bigots.”

One of the organisers and another UCU member, Rhiannon Lockley, said one of the motivations for setting up the march was her daughter: “I was really upset at the idea of her rights over her body being used as a bargaining chip to prop up the government.”

Lockely, who has also previously campaigned for abortion rights, said the issues “extend beyond the DUP deal – it is about austerity as well”.

Hence, the march was not just for women against the DUP but included all those affected by the potential deal with the DUP and those upset with the decisions of the Tory government so far.

The issue of austerity cuts was clear as representatives of Disabled People Against Cuts spoke to the crowd just before the march began. They called for Theresa May’s resignation and for participants to “turn the anger into sustained action”.

Participants – both women and men – of the march wore red. Lockley explained the reasons behind this: “We are wearing the red in protest to all the bloodshed under austerity cuts and the potential bloodshed of a deal that would prop this government up.”

The march set off from Parliament Square with demonstrators chanting “no racists, sexist, anti-gay, no DUP, no way” before finishing outside the gates of Downing Street where they began ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ chants.

Talks between the Conservatives and DUP to reach a “confidence and supply deal” are on-going but many are apprehensive of exactly what political and financial implications this “deal” will have.

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