But as Miliband started to speak, masked anarchists began trashing shops and banks in Oxford Street, prompting TV pictures of the violence accompanied by words from the Labour leader. Miliband also courted controversy with a passage in his speech in which he invoked previous struggles by the suffragettes, the US civil rights movement and anti-apartheid campaigns.
HOW I SEE IT - JOHN STONBOROUGH, Founder of John Stonborough & Co and former adviser to the House of Commons speaker
Ed Miliband was up a gum tree whatever he did. We have yet to see if this will be his 'duffle coat moment'. You'll remember that was when the country began to doubt the suitability of another left-wing intellectual leader. Everyone was in a sombre overcoat that day at the Cenotaph, except Michael Foot, clad in a green duffle coat. I had the same feeling watching Ed's 'Ich bin eine suffragette' speech on Saturday. At least he was wearing a suit. Should he have been there? Probably not. But he had no choice. Did he look confident? No, he looked awkward. Was his message right, at least? How could it be, faced with a sea of placards shouting 'No to Cuts'? His party would be cutting too, were they in power.
And yet there is Ed proclaiming solidarity for the marchers' cause.