The Straits Times
Published on Oct 20, 2012

Tens of thousands rally in London against austerity


LONDON (AP) - Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the British capital on Saturday in a noisy but peaceful protest at a government austerity drive aimed at slashing the nation's debt.

Unions, anti-war campaigners, left-wing leaders, community groups and other activists poured down London's streets in a demonstration against reductions to public sector spending which officials are pushing through to rein in Britain's debt, which stands at more than 1 trillion pounds (S$1.95 trillion).

Although the austerity programme has had some modest successes - the country's deficit has dropped slightly - the United Kingdom (UK) economy has shrunk for three consecutive quarters amid cuts at home and economic turmoil on the continent.

Mr Brendan Barber, whose Trades Union Congress (TUC) helped organise the march, said that the message of Saturday's protest was that "austerity is simply failing".