Thousands of British Yellow Vest protesters will swarm on London and Sheffield today as French-inspired anti-establishment anger spills out onto the capital’s streets.
The left wing Yellow Vest protest is believed to be broadly about demanding a general election and an end to austerity. But Brexit is expected to figure highly among the vague and slightly confused ambitions of the marchers following in the footsteps of French protesters who also donned yellow vests in widespread demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. Today’s “Britain is Broken” march will see as many as 10,000 people on the streets according to the event’s official Facebook page.
The march follows last weekend’s pro-Brexit London protests where demonstrators wore yellow vests in a nod to the “gilet janues” protests in France.
French Yellow Vest movement members Erick Simon and Laurie Martin have joined the London march and will take part in the anti-austerity demonstrations
The event, which is hosted by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, is in response to the parliamentary chaos over the prime minister’s Brexit deal.
But the protestors also criticise Theresa May’s wider government policies, including those in regard to homelessness, universal credit and the NHS.
In an open letter from organisers, published on their website yesterday, they say: “We do not believe that people in this country should have to endure this spectacle any longer.
“We cannot sit idly by and simply watch the political establishment fail the people who elected them.
“We believe that ordinary working people must now play an active role in resolving this crisis.
“We cannot remain spectators in the destruction of our own future and we intend to demonstrate our determination to offer a solutions for the Britain the Tories have broken and to demand a general election so that voters can act with a decisiveness which their leaders seem incapable of displaying.
“We urge everyone to join us in London on Saturday 12th January to serve notice of a failed party that is paralysed by their own crisis of ideology, the people must stand up, resist and demand they step aside.”
The London protestors are due to assemble outside the BBC in Portland Place and march to Trafalgar Square at 12pm.
On their official Facebook page, the group posted: “Today we protest! Safe journeys to everyone travelling to London this morning.
“It’s time to get the Tories out! See you on the streets! #GeneralElectionNow”
Coaches of protestors from around the country have began travelling to London, with demonstrators from Manchester and Derbyshire posting on social media.
Manchester People’s Assembly – Austerity Cut it Out wrote on Facebook at 7am this morning: “Setting off to national demo #britainisbroken.
“It’s time for this broken government to go.”
Labour MP Laura Pidcock and political commentator Owen Jones are among the speakers at the event.
It will be the second yellow vest protest in London in as many weekends, with pro-Brexit yellow vest protesters clashing with police last Saturday.
Around 100 people wearing trademark hi-vis jackets descended on Westminster for the protest and marched along Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square, letting off smoke bombs and causing major disruption.
London protesters have been inspired by similar demonstrations across France.
The protests first erupted on November 17, when hundreds of thousands marched to voice their opposition to the planned fuel tax rise set to be enforced at the beginning of 2019.
But the demonstrations quickly turned into a more widespread complaint against French President Emmanuel Macron’s stringent economic policies.
Another rally, organised by People’s Vote UK, will take place in Sheffield and will be held at the Victoria Hall, Norfolk Street, with doors opening at 11:30am for a 12pm start.