Saturday, 26 March 2011

March 26 liveblog - PCS

March 26 liveblog

The flagship demonstration against government cuts is the March for the Alternative – organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Saturday 26 March.

Live updates will be posted on this page. Please refresh the page for the latest updates, and scroll to the bottom to see earlier posts. We are also tweeting from the march, with updates including our location and key events, using the hashtags #pcs26 and #26march.


12:44 - Good to see plenty of PCS flags and placards among other union groups passing too.


12:42 - Manchester NUT vice chair Melanie Crossman said 'I'm thrilled to bits with the turnout. It shows the breadth of opposition to the cuts. There are lots of people here who are not political and do not go on demonstrations. We teach children from deprived areas and they have no chance of going to university under the new system. It's not about ability, it's about ability to pay.'


12:40 - Determination to raise awareness about the alternative to the cuts kept PCS member Richard Evans going on his 166-mile walk this week just to get to the start of the march. 'The support and encouragement I got along the way was incredible. At times I didn't think I was going to make it but that support kept me going. I walked to try and encourage others to join me and show that there is an alternative. Hopefully we'll convinve the government to think again about cuts to vital public services'.


12:38 - Lorraine is off the bus, and marching with us! If you haven't already done so, watch the fantastic video of Lorraine spreading the word about the march.


12:34 - Some great creative slogans, posters and banners at the march, well done all, a fantastic turnout from PCS members of course too.


12:26 - The National union of teachers are marching behind a massive pair of inflatable scissors bearing the slogan 'education cuts never heal'.


12:24 - Reports that the Police estimate there being around 450,000 marchers. Whatever the amount, it's clearly a great turnout, well done all.


12:22 - Front of march is now at Piccadilly circus.


12:14 - A constant stream of marchers have been passing over Waterloo bridge from the south bank for the part hour. It's not on the official route but they have the banners in the air. Including one from a PCS branch.


12:10 - As the march moved off slowly, eight year old Andrew Miles was leading the chanting as he sat on his Dad's shoulders clapping with his inflatable PCS sticks. Dad Peter and Mum Lindsay work in Birmingham job centres. Andrew's brothers Owen, 13 and Rhys, 7 are also on the march.


12:07 - Lots of marchers wearing our PCS march for the alternative badges. Good stuff.


11.59 - PCS marchers are on the move, with PCS rep Richard Evans marching under the banner, having finished his 166 mile walk. Congratulations and huge thanks Richard. An inspiration to all.


11:53 - There are more than thirty PCS banners lined up by Waterloo bridge. Well done all.


11:52 - From the TUC site, a YouGov poll shows that the majority of people in the UK back the march.


11:40 A reminder that the PCS stall is by speakers corner in Hyde Park. Visit us for the latest leaflets and flyers (like our alternative booklet) and other useful PCS resources.


11:32 - A reminder on a few key tips should the media ask to speak to you during the march.


11:27 - Marchers are lining up across Waterloo Bridge in readiness for the march to Hyde Park.


11:21 - Lots of wellwishers to the PCS contingent at Piccadilly circus in favour of the march, and opposed to cuts.


11:20 - There's a deafening combination of vuvuzelas under Waterloo bridge and helicopters over it.


11:19 - PCS London courts branch banner is just arriving.


11:16 - 'Osborne's cuts are fair if pigs can fly' reads one colourful t-shirt of a marcher waiting to move off.


11:13 - More PCS banners on display from DWP Sheffield, Revenue and Customs group, Portsmouth Ministry of Defence and Group 48.


11:11 - One of the youngest marchers is 13-month-old Rosa from Wanstead whose parents Dave and Liza are marching to save vital services such as Surestart and in defence of public services.


11:05 - Alan Dowling, a PCS member from the UK border agency in Sheffield is attending his first ever PCS demo. He said: 'it is ridiculous that people are being made redundant when we have a backlog of work. They are being thrown onto the dole when there are no jobs in the private sector'.


11:01 - If you haven't already, why not watch Lorraine on the bus spreading the word about the demonstration - this has been viewed more than 8,000 times on youtube 


10:56 - The march move forward about 50 yards, and then stops. Looks like it's a false start.


10:54 - PCS banners on the Embankment include DWP Liverpool and Scotland.


10:52 - Article on the guardian website on PCS rep Richard Evans 166 mile walk to the March. You can Follow Richard's progress as he finishes his walk on Twitter using #Walk2March.


10:46 - PCS placards include 'No justice in cuts', 'There is an alternative...close the £120billion pound tax gap' 'There is an alternative...invest in housing and transport'.


10:42 - Comedian, activist and author, Mark Thomas is aiming to be marching with UK Uncut today. Read our recent interview with him.


10:34 - Ten coaches from Derby have just arrived at the Wembley coach park. Organised by Unite, Unison and the National Union of Teachers.


10:33 - The Prison Officers Association delegation in bright yellow t-shirts are lined up in front of the PCS contingent.


10:28 - PCS Scotland banner is on the Embankment by Waterloo bridge.


10:27 - Met Police group president Richard Rooney said the march shows 'we've had enough' and that the union movement had woken up to fight back. 'Many police officers our sympathetic to our view and feeling the pinch too.'


10:25 - Third local PCS banner unfurled on the Embankment is Aberdeen Town Committee branch. They came down on the sleeper.


10:21 - Noisy contingent from GMB union branch march to assembly point blowing orange vuvuzelas.


10:19 - Second local PCS banner unfurled on the Embankment is Met Police London branch.


10:17 - The PCS stall is setting up by speakers corner in Hyde Park. The stall will have our latest leaflets and flyers (like our alternative booklet), clappers, ponchos and lots of other interesting PCS resources you can use at the march.


10:15 - First local PCS banner unfurled on the Embankment is Cornwall, Devon and Somerset branch. They came down on the sleeper.


10:12 - Chartered Society of Physiotherapists are handing out green 'protect your local NHS' stickers to passers by on the Embankment.


10:09 - Unite inflatables with red and white markings also on display.


10:03 - Purple and green Unison inflatables are bobbing in the wind at the front of the assembly area on the embankment.


10:00 - We're hoping to add videos from the march to the site as and when we can. The guardian are also uploading vids to from marchers, details on the site.


09:58 - Our massive yellow PCS balloon is at embankment, see for yourself at our flickr page.


09:52 - PCS calculated figure of £120billion pounds of tax evaded, avoided or uncollected being quoted by speaker with megaphone across the road from parliament.


09:46 - By the block on Big Ben. There are three TV trucks on Westminster bridge ready to cover the demonstration which starts a few hundred yards to the east.


09:42 - Lots of coaches of demonstrators reported at Newport Pagnall station on the M1 as sun breaks through cloud over central London.


9.37 - Some London radio stations have been saying this morning that Westminster bridge is closed. In fact, it is open. Police on the bridge say it will be closed from 10.30 to traffic, but will stay open for pedestrians. Buses that usually cross Westminster bridge are already stopping short on both sides.


9.34 - For those yet to set off, please remember the practical stuff before you leave. And, for reading material for the trip, why not download our alternative leaflet to print off and read

  There is an alternative: The case against cuts in public spending

You can also find lots of other good resources such as flyers to download from our march page.


09:25 - Marchers are also using scheduled transport to reach London. A group with yellow PCS flags were spotted boarding the 7.3oam train from Leeds to Kings Cross, London.


09:22 - Hundreds of coaches and trains are bringing demonstrators to London from all over Britain. Unions have been working well together with white Unite whistles handed out on the 6.20am National Union of Teachers' train from Manchester.


09:17 - Mobile networks permitting, we will be uploading pics to the PCS flickr page. Check out some of the images already there, including our recent projections on to various buildings in the capital.


09:04 - If you're making your way to the march, why not think up some chants for the day? There's a few suggestions on this page, but we're sure you can think up some better ones too.


08:59 - PCS rep Richard Evans will be setting off from Hounslow this morning, completing the final leg of a 166-mile walk. Congratulations, and thank you Richard. Will see you there. You can Follow Richard's progress as he finishes his walk on Twitter using #Walk2March.


08:50 - From marchers attending from Liverpool - Lime Street really busy, great vibe, everyone up for a great day. Good stuff, see you soon!


08:40 - The BBC are reporting that around 100,00 people are likely to attend the march (as predicted by the TUC), while the Guardian has the figure at up to 300,000. Either way, it's going to be a big turn out today, best wishes to all marching. To all PCS members, see you on the Embankment, assembly point 6.


08:25 - People with banners getting off train Waterloo. Embankment lined with union placard and banners already