The streets of Sheffield were buzzing, filled with people holding placards and banners, all united in their fight against the new Conservative government and their plan to cut spending.
Around 1000 people turned up on Devonshire Green on the 16th of May for the “March Against Austerity”.
There was an atmosphere of life and expectation and as we began the march a man with a megaphone initiated chants.
This included musical numbers such as “You say cutback we say fight back” and “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”
We marched to Sheffield Town Hall, people chatting, laughing, chanting and swinging placards which read things such as “Cuts cost Lives”, “We need our Human rights” “Scotland take us with you” and, frankly enough “Fuck Austerity.”
At the Town Hall, we crowded around the steps, where speakers stood to make their case against the new government.
Among these was Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, who did not hold back from her opinion.
She said: “Yes we have got a tory government but what we have also got is all of us gathered here today, gathered around the country.”
“I want all of you to get out there and campaign on your issue.”
She and others spoke of the particular issues that people are fighting for, these included; public services, wages and conditions, such as making sure every wage is a living wage, renewable energy, education and Union rights.
She delivered a speech which centred on the collective, and supporting each other to oppose the cuts and to change politics.
She also said: “This [fight] is possible. This can be done- this must be done.” This was met with an eruption of cheers from the attentive crowd.
A lot of groups were present, among them were the socialist students, TUSC against cuts and Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The speakers shared personal experiences, such as the miners’ strike, how the Tories affected the Palestinians, the living conditions in the work place, children being taken into care and cuts to the health and education sectors.
Centrally, the crowd were bristling with fears of how the new government will affect them; the working class.
People feel that the Tories plans to save £30bn will exploit them, and standing in that crowd you were hit with the raw emotion, desperation and, most potently, hope of these people.
Natasha, a student teacher at Hallam, said: “I have seen the effect the Tory cuts have had on education. Students, teachers, young people. We need to come together we need to fight for what is ours.”
A labour member said that that party’s downfall came from their inability to fight against austerity.
Jens, from Depac, said that over the last 18 months, the health of 10 thousand people suffered because of bad working conditions.
Bad working conditions can lead to malnourished children, who then have to be taken into an already overflowing care system. They can also lead to stress, which leads to dismissal from work and then benefit sanctions.
She said: “We are all here under the same obligation, we are the working class, we need to do something.”
This demonstration forms part of a nationwide protests against the Conservatives, and on the 20th of June a similar march will take place in London, beginning at the Bank of England.
Natalie Bennett will be in attendance again.