Ahead of Brexit vote, thousands march demanding Theresa May’s resignation

The protesters, many of whom were clad in yellow vests, marched under the banner ‘Britain is Broken.’ They demanded the conduct of general elections and called on working people to play an active role in resolving the crisis

January 14, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
The protesters noted that the political and economic crises facing the country was not being discussed in parliament. Photo: Socialist Worker

On Saturday, thousands of people marched in London under the banner “Britain is Broken”, demanding the immediate resignation of Theresa May’s Tory government and the holding of general elections in the country. Many protesters, clad in yellow vests, said that May’s resignation was vital in order to end austerity in the country. A political initiative called People’s Assembly Against Austerity (PAAA) was the organizer of the event.

The march started from the premises of BBC’s Broadcasting House and culminated in a meeting at Trafalgar Square. Volunteers belonging to organizations such as Stand Up to Racism and the Socialist Party actively participated in the march. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow minister for labour, Laura Pidcock, also attended the rally.

Socialist Worker reported that two French Yellow Vests protesters, Erick Simon and Laurie Martin, also participated in the march. Laurie Martin said “The Gilets Jaunes are resisting this oligarchical government which is taking the wealth away from the people and giving it to the rich.”

In his speech, Weyman Bennett from Stand Up To Racism slammed the Tory attempts to scapegoat refugees as a way of evading the crisis. “They want to set neighbour against neighbour,” he said.

The PAAA issued a statement prior to the march, in which they noted that May was unable to secure parliamentary support for her Brexit deal. The statement also stressed that despite the economic and political crisis in the National Health Service (NHS), public services and the manufacturing sector, as well as the attacks on the welfare state, not much was being discussed in the House of Commons other than the Brexit deal. May’s authority has been destroyed even within her own party with more than a third of her MPs demanding that she resign as the leader.

We believe that ordinary working people must now play an active role in resolving this crisis. We cannot remain spectators in the destruction of our own future and we intend to demonstrate our determination to offer a solution for the Britain the Tories have broken and to demand a general election so that voters can act with a decisiveness which their leaders seem incapable of displaying,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, another group of yellow vests assembled outside St. James Tube station in London took out a pro-Brexit march towards Westminster and blocked the Westminster Bridge. Some right-wing miscreants who were part of that march reportedly tried to disrupt the People’s Assembly program and got into minor scuffles with the activists and the police.

Last Sunday, a picket of protesting rail workers at Manchester was attacked by a right-wing mob dressed in yellow vests. A solidarity event against the attack, organized by Stand Up To Racism, was also held on Saturday in which hundreds of people joined the RMT rail union picket lines in Manchester.