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Bristol cuts: the fight goes on
Protester bitten by private security!
The £33 million of cuts in the budget passed on 21 February by the council are not acceptable to the people of Bristol. We hear the excuses from the Labour Party that they have no alternative and the Tory government made them do it. But if this is really true, then why do we even bother electing local politicians?
Labour councils could legally choose to use reserves and prudential borrowing to suspend the cuts and join the fight for more money. A united campaign of ordinary people, anti-austerity groups, the trade unions and Labour councils would put huge pressure on the Tory government to capitulate and properly fund local government.
Bristol's Labour mayor, Marvin Rees, addressed the budget meeting, claiming "transparency is a key commitment". Minutes later the public gallery was cleared by security staff, leaving councillors to discuss the cuts behind closed doors!
Unaccountable private security staff were again deployed by the council as an anti-cuts protest gathered outside city hall
In a shocking incident, Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance (Badaca) campaigner Mike Luff was bitten by security staff as he tried to gain access to the meeting. The violent attack drew blood and the victim was later treated in hospital. Complaints will be followed up against the council.
Badaca spokesperson Tom Baldwin said:
"We saw disgraceful behaviour from Bristol city council. This was not just a vicious assault on one individual, it was an attack on local democracy and on the right to protest. Disgusting as the biting incident was, the most violent act committed that night took place inside the council chamber itself. Councillors have voted to devastate services that many Bristolians rely on."
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