Tenants give the lead in Manchester bedroom tax demo

bedroom tax manchester 1The beautiful weather certainly didn’t do any harm in helping around three hundred protesters turn out for Saturday’s demonstration against the bedroom tax in Manchester.

A rapidly growing rally in the sun saw tenant after tenant summon the courage to get on the open mic and tell stories of how them and their families had been affected by the bedroom tax.

Not all the speeches were fluent, and some used language which was inappropriate for a family event (!), but the stories were emotional, upsetting, angry and inspiring, and they clearly struck a chord with passers by who stopped to listen, and then stayed with us.

As we went on the march, the demonstration was noisy, full of home-made banners and placards, some representing the local campaigns. It was good to see a number of disabled people and carers in attendance, and speaking at the beginning.

Passing traffic sounded horns, and this march attracted far more support from the general public than I’ve seen at previous demonstrations – this despite the current tabloid propaganda war against those on benefits. Instead, the campaign must be having an impact on the city, no doubt helped by Manchester Evening News’ decision to launch a press campaign against the tax.

Activist photographer Barbara Cook has created an album of the march.

The next big actions will take place on 25th and 27th June when the Housing 2013 conference comes to the city.

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