May Bulletin

  • 06 May 2016 14:37

UK and Ireland Civil Unrest and Activism Bulletin


The monthly Activism Bulletin provides a concise overview of forthcoming activism and protest events, brief analysis of significant developments and a preview of planned protests, which could disrupt business.

UK Activist Summary

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On 16 April, an estimated 50,000 demonstrators rallied in central London to denounce the government’s ongoing austerity programme. Beginning at University College London, the rally moved through central London and culminated in speeches at Trafalgar Square. Contentious issues, which prompted mass support, included the dispute within the NHS, cuts to public services and the association between offshore financing, particularly in Panama, and senior MPs, including Prime Minister David Cameron.
While the action remained largely peaceful, the attendance and the tone illustrate the growing frustration with the government and its austerity measures. Further actions are anticipated over these issues in the coming months, with a major rally expected through London on 1 May as part of the traditional Labour Day actions.
Attendees for the Trade Union Congress (TUC)-organised May Day event on 1 May will rally at Clerkenwell Green at 1130hrs before marching through central London to Trafalgar Square where prominent guests, including senior members of the Labour Party, are due to address the crowd. Attendance has declined in recent years, however, some 5,000 people are expected to attend, resulting in traffic disruption and road closures. Organisers are promoting a number of issues that could trigger a larger attendance.
Key labour issues in 2016 include ongoing austerity measures, cuts to public services, and perceived attacks on the education and health services. While events have been peaceful in recent years, parallel actions by anti-government and anti-austerity groups cannot be discounted. Such actions can, and have, been disruptive and violent in previous years, with premises within the banking, petrochemical and fast food industries being targets of direct action.

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