Home Business NewsPolitics News Protests sweep through London

Protests sweep through London

by LLB Reporter
9th Nov 11 4:45 pm

Recap of yesterday’s protest gridlock: students, Occupy LSX protestors, taxi driver demonstration and Billy Bragg

Latest update – November 9, 6.37pm: Our reporter Rebecca Hobson at the United Cabbies Group demonstration at Trafalgar Square

Parts of central London were gridlocked this afternoon as thousands of black cabs showed up in support of a protest organised by the taxi union, United Cabbies Group.

At the centre of the protest was Trafalgar Square where from 4pm around 800 taxis descended upon the area in support of the demonstration against minicab touting which the UCG argues puts women at risk.

General Secretary of the RMT Union Bob Crow attended the demonstration in a display of solidarity with the UCG.

United Cabbies Group demonstration


United Cabbies Group demonstration

Bob Crow at the United Cabbie Group demonstration

General Secretary of the RMT Union Bob Crow attended the demonstration in a display of solidarity with the UCG.

Crow said: “The licensed taxi trade in London is under an unprecedented attack and that’s why RMT members in the industry are working for maximum unity to defend jobs, safety and the quality of service to the public.”

United Cabbies Group demonstration

According to the UCG, the number of sexual assaults taken place against women travelling in licenced and unlicensed minicabs increased by 54 per cent in 2010.

Latest update – November 9, 5:10pm: The BBC is reporting that the student protests are being tightly controlled by police – 20 people have apparently been arrested today but the fear of further riots is thankfully looking low

Central London faces gridlock as multiple protests rage across the capital. Police are battling to contain mass student protests, the spread of the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration, and a taxi drivers’ protest, just to top it all off.

And this afternoon Billy Bragg and Rage Against The Machine singer Tony Morello will apparently perform at the Occupy London camp at St Paul’s Square, Spoonfed reports, no doubt whipping the crowds into an even greater frenzy.

Occupy LSX has declared its intentions to combine forces with the student protests, in what could yet become an explosive culmination to today’s demostrations. The Occupy LSX website wrote earlier today: “Today we offer our support and solidarity to students and construction workers protesting against the creeping impoverishment of our society, in our shared desire to create a better world. We look forward to a day of peaceful protest and creative actions to draw attention to the systemic problems that are affecting this country.”

Hopefully the peace that has lasted throughout most of today will continue into the night.

The Occupy LSX movement has recently expanded in to Parliament Square from its original St Paul’s base. There is also a branch-off Occupy LSX group now at Trafalgar Square, merging with the student protests in what could become an explosive central point for today’s mass action. Police recently began forcibly removing tents set up by protestors in Trafalgar Square.

The student protests swarming across the capital are expected to count 10,000 people among their ranks (Update at 5:10 pm: the BBC is reporting the figure is probably closer to 2,000 student protestors). Students are campaigning against the increase to tuition fees. Scotland Yard said it had deployed 4,000 officers to contain the potential havoc ahead.

Twitter rumours suggest kettling has already begun in some parts of the capital. Helicopters are buzzing across London’s skies in many areas.

The Guardian produced this video earlier from Fetter Lane, where student protestors clashed with police and police horses:

Meanwhile, the taxi drivers’ protest, while smaller in scale, will serve only to further gridlock London today and this evening. As we reported earlier this week, taxi union United Cabbies Group has pledged to wage a mass drive-in protest around Trafalgar today at 4pm.

Our reporter Rebecca Hobson is there now, and we will keep you updated with all news as soon as we hear it. Watch this space.

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