Hundreds join London protest against Theresa May and the DUP
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On the 10th June, hundreds gathered at Parliament square to protest the proposed Conservative and DUP coalition. It was a forceful rejection of the DUP’s anti-abortion, anti-LGBT+, and anti-green policies. The event was titled ‘Down With Tory/DUP Racism and Bigotry’ and was organised by Stand Up To Racism and Stop the War Coalition. Yet there was a jovial atmosphere, with the host announcing at the opening of the event that this was a “victory party” for the left, mocking Theresa May’s failed attempt at winning a majority. With the bright sunshine, music, and dance, there was definitely a happy, party mood, especially with live music performances, which included Tommy Walton’s 'Dear Theresa'. Much of the celebration was centred on Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable success, praising his conviction despite the scepticism and lack of support from the media and many of his own party members. The feeling that the “tables have turned”, as one speaker put it, was proudly attributed to Corbyn’s radicalism and offer of true change, alongside his respect for gaining electoral power. The orignal purpose of protesting the DUP was not forgotten, however, as the host announced that "today we start the protest against the Tories and DUP”. One of the most popular chants of the day was “racist, sexist, anti-gay; not DUP, no way!” The particular concern for women’s rights was underlined by the strong presence of the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, with many placards urging the introduction of free, safe, and legal abortions in Northern Ireland, where it is still illegal except for particular medical circumstances. A great deal of the protest was towards the Conservatives and their lack of power. In an impassioned speech Weyman Bennet, co-founder of Stand Up To Racism, called them the “zombie Tory government”, urging the people to more protest since “the only reason [the Tories] don't know they're dead is because we haven't pushed them over.” In line with other speakers, Bennet also attacked the right-wing media rather than the people who voted Conservative, accusing The Sun of “racist filth”.
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