Voluntary Sector: Taking Action ... Unison, council workers and residents vs Lambeth Council

Protesters: Unison, council workers and residents
Target: Lambeth Council
Location: Lambeth Town Hall
Date: 23 February

The lowdown

More than 150 protesters staged an occupation of Lambeth Town Hall. They stormed the council meeting, chanting 'No ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts' and 'That's not what democracy looks like - this is what democracy looks like'. The campaigners then held a 'people's council' in which they elected their own chair and discussed opposition to the cuts.

- Why the protests?

Members of the Labour-run council were meeting to decide how to make £79m in savings over three years. 'We don't accept the argument that councillors have to make these cuts,' Marsha-Jane Thompson, a member of Unison, told The Guardian.

- How did Lambeth Council respond?

Alex Bigham, a Labour councillor, said: 'The council has been forced by the Government to take money from the public balance sheet or reduce back-office spending. I understand the protesters are angry but in many ways their actions are misdirected. They should be taking their protests elsewhere, such as to the Treasury.'

- Media treatment

The severity of the protest meant that it received more coverage than would have been expected if the protesters had stayed respectfully outside the chamber. Interested outlets included The Guardian, BBC News, This is London, Socialist Worker and local press.

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