Throughout August, anti-austerity groups and unions have held anti-government actions opposing austerity, the wealth gap and issues concerning workers’ rights. Actions have included a protest outside the Bank of England on 1 August, and protests and strikes by staff at St Bartholomew's Hospital during August. Rail staff have also held short industrial actions in August with further strikes, and possible protests, scheduled for September over companies’, and the government’s, plans for reform that unions claim will lead to job losses and jeopardise safety. Antigovernment actions over pay and austerity were expected during August, with an escalation in actions likely during September ahead of the Conservative Party Conference in October. Anti-austerity groups are ratcheting up action ahead of the conference with the government coming under increasing pressure over Brexit talks, austerity amid rising inflation and a squeeze in living standards, and issues over the wealth gap. While actions in August remained peaceful, more vociferous action is expected in September and particularly October.
Protest activity in September is focused on two main events; the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition at the London ExCel arena, Docklands from 12-15 September and the Conservative Party Conference which is being held in Manchester from 1-4 October. Human rights and anti-arms groups are planning a series of protest actions ahead of DSEi from 4-11 September, including a ‘day of action’ on 5 September and a ‘day of peace’ on 9 September. The majority of actions are being held in the Docklands area, although support is expected to be moderate. However, the days of action could see protesters move from the Docklands area and enter central London or the City, holding protests against sponsors of the event and exhibitors including banks, as well as targeting companies involved in the arms trade. Additionally, the anti-austerity group, People’s Assembly Against Austerity, is holding a protest in Manchester on 30 September, labelled ‘Take Back Manchester’. The action is opposing the upcoming Conservative Party Conference and the government’s continued austerity measures amid the Brexit talks. Protests concerning the government, Brexit and the issues of austerity are expected to be well supported, resulting in localised disruption.