Protesters from multiple town activist groups gathered outside the Guildhall on Saturdayjack chellman

Around 40 protesters representing various social justice organizations marched on Saturday from Parker’s Piece to Market Square in opposition to Conservative government policies, and in particular austerity’s impact on Cambridge.

The event was organized by the Cambridge People’s Assembly Against Austerity but gathered a coalition of community members concerned by the UK’s role in global wars, cuts to the NHS, the climate crisis, and local housing issues.

The People’s Assembly is a seven year-old national movement whose Cambridge branch has previously organised for improving local transport and preventing Council budget cuts.

“We’re hoping to give each other some hope, make each other feel stronger and united, and start to build connections,” said Cambridge People’s Assembly Chair Jane Goodland.

“People are standing up to this government. For people, for the NHS, for peace, for our planet. And I know that when we come together, we are strong.”

Chair of the Montreal Square Residents Association Marti King explained she was marching to raise awareness for the planned demolition of 18 homes in Cambridge’s Montreal Square.

Protesters' banners urged the government to ‘Tell the truth’ and ‘#stopandscrap universal credit’.


Mountain View

Extinction Rebellion protest blocks Cambridge junction during rush hour

Local representatives from Cambridge Stop the War, the Cambridge and District Trades Council, Extinction Rebellion Youth, Keep our NHS Public, Hands off Hinchingbrooke, and Momentum attended. Some also travelled from elsewhere to show solidarity.

Anthony Hazzard, who has worked at Addenbrooke's in the past, came to the march from London with the aim “to draw attention to the injustices that are continuing in this country under this government.”

Protesters began gathering at 10:45am in the center of Parker’s Piece, braving high winds and holding additional banners supporting the NHS, and condemning Conservative treatment of child refugees.

In front of the Guildhall, protesters chanted, “show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” Others shouted “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”

Not all the event’s observers agreed with the protests. Speaking to Varsity, one passerby said, “this is one of the freest countries in the world, so I think they should really take a look at other places and think about how lucky we are here.”

But protesters such as Steven Carne, a member of the Hands Off Hinchingbrooke Committee, which aims to protect the NHS from privatisation, stressed the importance to “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

He added,“it’s the only thing that ever has.”