At noon today, campaigners from UK Uncut Manchester blocked off Deansgate, near the Magistrates Courts in the city centre, to protest against ConDem Government changes to Legal Aid which they say will have devastating consequences for justice in this country.
Protesters, including two Statues of Liberty who held up a giant banner reading `Road Blocked by UK Uncut…Say No To Legal Aid Cuts', remained in the road while police attempted to divert traffic around them.
In a statement, UK Uncut Manchester criticised the ConDem Government for its cuts to education, health care, welfare and housing... "Now, the proposed changes to Legal Aid will take away our ability to challenge them and block all but the rich from access to justice" the group explained "People will not be able to dispute unfair evictions, babies will not have their interests represented in family disputes, and the families of people killed in custody or detention will no longer be able to fight for the truth.
"This has nothing to do with saving money, the changes will cost the legal system more than they will save" UK Uncut added "By removing our ability to challenge it, this Government is undermining the rule of law, so that it can continue to push forward its austerity agenda. It is a historic attack on our rights, and we will not allow it to go unchallenged. Blocking roads is a proven tool, the Government has not listened to protests or petitioning, and the time for direct action has come. No Justice - No Peace!"
This latest action follows other protests by Manchester and Salford people, the last of which, in the summer, saw a Legal Aid coffin being carried from the courts to Cathedral Gardens (see previous Salford Star article – click here). The Legal Aid coffin was also evident on the Manchester march to the Tory Party Conference least week (see here).
Photos by Natasha S and Lynda K