Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/481/2260
The Socialist 4 April 2007 |
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Waltham Forest protest - more memorable than Prince Charles!
WHEN SOCIALIST Party members discovered that an unpublicised visit was taking place in the refurbished Walthamstow Library, we decided we needed to be at this event. A small community library was due to close the next day, library and other council staff were battling over conditions, and massive service cuts have been made across the borough.
Nancy Taaffe and Claire Buddle
Our town square was swarming with police, armed officers, and sniffer dogs. We set our stall up directly opposite the library entrance and got the megaphone out. We learned the visitor was Prince Charles.
The police tried to move us away from the town square but relented when we agreed to take down the stall, but remain with our banners and megaphone.
In our four-hour protest to a captive waiting audience, all our leaflets were taken, and we were congratulated again and again for taking this action. Our speeches commented on the hypocrisy of local politicians who are closing and cutting services. As the Mayor and councillors arrived, we chanted "Shame on you for turning blue". People were nodding, laughing, and cheering us.
Just five members could make this protest at short notice. We were all wet and cold, but our Socialist Party protest will be talked about by those who were there, more than the brief glimpse they got of Prince Charles getting into his car.
PS. The next day at a union/ management meeting, union demands on library workers' job descriptions were agreed in full, after a nine-month battle. The union are not sure why these demands have been met (many members are mistrustful), but maybe Socialist Party members' dogged determination over the last few months to link the unions and the community in the fight to defend services, even when royalty comes to town, made a strong contribution to this victory for the library workers.
We hope to post a link to a short video of the lobby here soon