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Anti-austerity protests: Michael Sheen, Charlotte Church, Maxine Peake and Julie Hesmondhalgh join march


Hollywood A-lister Michael Sheen, Silk star Maxine Peake and former Corrie favourite Julie Hesmondhalgh will join 70,000 protesters campaigning against Tory cuts on Saturday.
The actors will march through London with the People’s Assembly for their End Austerity Now protest.
They are taking to the capital’s streets as Conservative axeman George Osborne readies himself for another £25 billion of spending cuts, including a fresh £12 billion raid on social security.
Activists will gather in the City outside the Bank of England before marching to Westminster for a rally.
Welshman Sheen, who played Tony Blair in three TV dramas, said: “We must not let ‘austerity measures’ provide a cover for a systematic dismantling of the mechanisms of equality in this country.
“The truth is that the financial crisis was caused by the unchecked desires for profit at the expense of responsibility in the financial sector.
“The truth is that the danger of ‘welfare handouts’ is a myth, whereas the massive banking bailouts were a grotesque reality.
“Together we must use our democratic right to make our voices heard and speak truth to power.”
Peake claimed “direct action” was “the only way to stem the constant ruthless attacks on our society by this arrogant and vicious system”.
She warned: “If we don’t stand up we will lose our most precious assets, assets that have been fought so long and hard for.
“The NHS, our public services, legal aid - the list goes on.”
Thousands of union members will take part in the protest, three weeks before the Chancellor could use an emergency Budget to unveil his plans for public sector workers and their pay.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Today ordinary people are joining together in their thousands to send a clear message to the new government - no more brutal austerity, senseless cuts and ideological privatisations.
“That’s why trade unions will continue to fight for a real alternative based on investment, public ownership and strong rights for working people.
“Together we can build a fairer, more equal, more hopeful country.”
People’s Assembly General Secretary Sam Fairbairn said: “This Government is acting as if a small majority in Parliament gives them the green light for dictatorial rule without opposition.
“Today will be the start of a campaign of protest, strikes, direct action and civil disobedience up and down the country.
“We will not rest until austerity is history, our services are back in public hands and the needs of the majority are put first.”
Labour leadership hopeful, left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn, is expected to address protesters - the only one of the four contenders for the party crown to join the rally.

Stars come out in force

Actor Michael Sheen: “We must not let 'Austerity Measures' provide a cover for a systematic dismantling of the mechanisms of equality in this country. The TRUTH is that the financial crisis was caused by the unchecked desires for profit at the expense of responsibility in the financial sector. The TRUTH is that the danger of "welfare handouts" is a myth whereas the massive banking bailouts were a grotesque reality. There IS such a thing as society. TOGETHER we must use our democratic right to make our voices heard and SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.”

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