Over a hundred people marched in to St Helen’s Square for our Defend Education rally. A wide range of people got up to speak about everything from the specific demands of the day’s strike action, to the future of Britain and the movement we need to create if we want an equal society. Earlier in the day, Food Not Bombs and YPA members had been out visiting picket lines, offering moral and edible support. Read the York Press report here.
In recent years, we’ve made it an important principle in York that no one should stand alone on a picket line, facing the government and employers without the support of fellow community members. Between the car, 3 trailers, many bikes and numerous people visiting on foot, we got cakes and hot drinks out to around 10 picket lines in all.
Students and staff assembled by Micklegate Bar and marched through the city centre to the rally. With good voice and high spirits, they could be heard long before they entered the square with union banners and placards. Despite the soundsystem failing at the last second, the atmosphere continued throughout the rally, which was deliberately kept short due to the cold. Food Not Bombs served up soup to protesters and passing members of the public alike, giving a real community vibe to the event.
Elsewhere, Sussex Students used a giant banner that read “Strikes are disruptive for a reason” to blockade a key entrance to their campus. Students at the University of London have, as of Wednesday evening, occupied Senate House, where the Vice Chancellor’s office is located. In a building famous as the Ministry of Truth in the film of Orwell’s 1984, senior managers were accused of having shredded documents when they discovered an occupation was imminent. Their demands can be read here.