Conservative Party Conference: Mass protests against austerity disrupt opening

Thousands protest against austerity at Conservative Party ConferenceIBTimes UK

Tens of thousands of Britons took to the streets of Manchester on 4 October to protest against austerity measures as the Conservative Party opened its annual conference. According to the police, about 60,000 people joined in the protest outside the conference venue. The protest was largely against the government's austerity policy, which has cut welfare and public spending since 2010 to deal with the financial crisis.

"[We are] against the austerity measures because we don't believe that the people who are disabled, our young people should be made to pay for a crisis that they didn't create. We believe the people who created it are the ones that are now benefiting from austerity measures. From the bankers, you know the CEOs, the big companies and all of these companies that have benefited hugely from grotesque wages and bonuses, while the people at the bottom end of the scale have seen cuts to their terms and conditions, cuts to wages and the introduction of vulnerable contracts such as zero-hour contracts" said Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.

"They're cutting back on education as well. So further education, like college, so 16 and 17 year olds, we're getting cutbacks to our education system," said protester Rosa Johnston Kincaid.

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Meanwhile, many protesters are demanding the government deal with the refugee crisis in a more positive way and to help solve the Syrian crisis in a way that will benefit all parties.

"I believe the government's policy on Syria is wrong. I believe that the government, and the West in particular, has handled the whole issue of the Middle East very, very badly. It's caused massive problems across the Middle East. We feel quite strongly that the only way you resolve the issues across the Middle East is to sit down and to find a solution that benefits all parties," said Hodson.

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