MORE than 5,000 trade unionists, workers, students and youth marched from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square on the London May Day March yesterday afternoon. There were trade union banners from the South East Region of the TUC, ASLEF, PCS, Unite, RMT, POA, and other trade union flags.
There were huge red banners and flags from Turkish unions and workers groups.
There was also a large contingent of Chagos Islanders marching behind their banner demanding their ‘Right to Return’.
The Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists delegation kept up a lively chant: ‘Rudd is Gone, May Next! Kick the Tories Out Now’! and ‘One State Palestine, Jerusalem is its capital!’
They continued with ‘Rehouse Grenfell Families! Kick the Council Out!’ ‘Windrush is a Scandal. Restore All Their Rights!’ and Trade Unions Must Act Now to Defend Palestine!’ ‘Capitalism is Bankrupt. Socialism Now!’
While the march was assembling, Isobelle Charlot from the Chagos Islanders’ Movement told News Line: ‘We are here to raise awareness about our situation. To get support from the British people and from the trade unions. ‘We want to go back to Diego Garcia and we need everyone’s help to get us there to promote our peaceful culture. ‘We are so angry that our island has been turned into a military base, because of the British and US governments’ selfishness. We must get back our identity which was robbed from us.’
Tony Megremis, RMT Reading, said: ‘It’s the 1st of May and we have to be here for all those who fought and struggled, bled and died for us to have a better life. ‘I support Palestine. It should be an independent state and a socialist state. It is necessary to bring down the capitalist system.’
Aylin Unaldi a university lecturer from Turkey, said: ‘The excruciating oppression of capitalism is increasing day by day. ‘I am being sued by the Erdogan government just because I signed a petition to stop the civil war in Turkey and to establish peace.
‘Twelve of our students are in prison now and they are being tortured. These young people of 19, 20, 21 were just doing a campus demonstration to stop the war on Syria, and we don’t know how many years they will be in jail. ‘There are 1,200 academics like me, who signed this peace petition, professors, assistant professors etc and they are all being prosecuted.’
Stuart McLaughlin, Branch Secretary Wandsworth POA, said: ‘Our union resolution calling for the TUC to Call a General Strike was passed by the TUC but not acted upon. ‘I think it is even more relevant now.’ He added wryly: ‘In the prison service we had a “wonderful” maintenance contract with Carillion. Before they collapsed they were cutting everything. The General Strike is way overdue.’