According to the Independent, between 400,000 to 500,000 people attended a march and rally in central London last Friday to protest the massive government spending cuts proposed by the coalition government, making it the largest since the Iraq war protests of 2003.
Several friends of mine from the UK attended the protests, all of whom attest to the buoyant mood and inspiring solidarity of everyone involved. While there were violent incidents involving anarchists, the protests were largely peaceful and there were relatively few incidents that detracted from the cause.
The Tory/Lib Dem government is still committed to enacting the cuts that will seriously affect education, libraries, parks, and social services to name a few, regardless of massive public opposition.
While the protest was astonishingly large, there will likely be larger ones in the near future as the reality of the cuts set in across the country. The austerity measures are the most severe since World War 2, and according to every reputable economist, will hit the poorest hardest. Britain is a highly politically aware country, and protests will deservedly be aimed at the people responsible for their misery (unlike America, where rage is inexplicably directed at social spending).
While David Cameron and Nick Clegg try to convince everyone that excessive social services and 'welfare abuse' are the reasons for Britain's economic woes, the public has not bought into it and are showing their displeasure in force. As banker's pay increases and corporate profits soar, Britain is experiencing a giant transfer of wealth from one sector of the population (the poor and middle class) to another (the rich). The numbers do not lie, and as the economic divide widens and poverty and wealth become more extreme, the government will have no where to hide. Their brazen belief that Britain can cut its way out of a recession is being put to the test in a very real way, meaning they will be judged on the consequences of their actions.
So far, it doesn't look good.