An anti-Tory protest in Bristol this month. Photograph: Jonny White/Demotix/Corbis
Thousands of people are expected to join anti-government demonstrations during the state opening of parliament on Wednesday, just over a fortnight after an anti-Tory protest in Whitehall led to clashes with police.
Organisers expect a crowd of around 5,000, including a large student bloc, to gather at Trafalgar Square in opposition to Conservative plans for five more years of spending cuts. About 2,000 are expected for a separate march from Downing Street through Westminster.
Militant anarchists have organised a protest on Parliament Square earlier the same day, around the time the Queen is expected to arrive at Westminster. They intend to use the slogan: “Five more years of this shit? No fucking way!”
The rallies are part of a wave of protests that have followed the Conservatives’ election victory on 7 May. Fifteen people were arrested a day after the resultswhen scuffles broke out between police and protesters outside Downing Street.
Hannah Sketchley, a spokeswoman for the Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), which called the Trafalgar Square rally, said the aim was to give a voice to people dissatisfied with the result of the election.
— Against Fees & Cuts (@NCAFC_UK) May 25, 2015
“It really is to remind the Conservative government that we will be around on that day, that there’s absolutely masses of people who are out there who they don’t represent and are ready to put up a fight if they do things which they mention in their manifesto,” she said.
“Democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box and it never ever has,” she said. “If people had said that to women in 1900 then looking back we would think they were very short-sighted to say the least.”
The government’s proposed measures are expected to include £12bn in cuts to welfare, a dismantling of human rights laws, limits on strike action and pro-business reform of public services including schools and healthcare.
Sketchley said violence was “always a worry” when planning a demonstration in central London. “Police haven’t got a great track record, especially if you look at the policeman found guilty of assault on one of the kids at the student protests in 2010,” she said, referring to the conviction of PC Andrew Ott last week for knocking a student’s tooth out.
“We always advocate for non-violent direct action, and I hope the police get the message when they plan their own actions,” Sketchley added.
Police said an “appropriate policing plan” would be in place but NCAFC had not responded to their requests for more information.
“We are aware of an advertised event due to meet at Malet Street WC1 at 1600hrs on Wednesday,” Scotland Yard said. “The Met’s police liaison team has attempted to make contact with the organisers but so far they have failed to engage with us. We would encourage them to contact us so that we can work with them around their intended event.”
By Tuesday morning more than 6,900 people had signed up to a Facebook page for the NCAFC’s protest. More than 2,000 have signed up to a page for the Downing Street march, organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
The People’s Assembly is also behind the June protest. It has told campaigners to assemble “right on the doorstep of the very people who created the crisis in the first place”, outside the Bank of England in the heart of London’s financial district.
“We demand that the bankers and elite should pay for the crisis and not the vast majority who had nothing to do with it,” says a Facebook event page for the protest. A tweet posted Tuesday by the group suggested the plan was to march from the City to Parliament Square.
A Facebook campaign has been set up to try to get the Bob Marley protest classic Get Up, Stand Up to number one in the pop charts in the week of the demonstration. It is asking people to buy the single from a number of online stores between Monday 8 June and Saturday 13 June, so that it will be number one for the week of 20 June.