Over two thousand people took to the streets of Manchester today, joining hundreds of thousands of others around the world, to demand action on climate change. The People's Climate March was held on the eve of both the United Nations summit on climate change in New York, and the Labour Party Conference at Manchester Central (GMex).
The noisy, family-friendly march, led by the PCS drumming band, began at Piccadilly Gardens, and proceeded through the centre of Manchester to a site opposite the Conference centre where delegates could hear and see the end rally, which included a giant, scary Mr Frack metallic puppet and speaker after speaker condemning the fracking industry.
Rally hostess, Jenny Ross, began by questioning the Labour Party's attitude towards fracking... "Their union backers are against frackers but the Labour Party aren't – does that make sense?" she asked, to a resounding `No' from the crowd... "Us little people...union members...that's what the Labour Party is supposed to be here for right?" she added, as she just shook her head.
Meanwhile Martin Porter, of Frack Free Greater Manchester, told how people had been left out of the political process in the debate about fracking...
"Here in the North west of England the key battle against climate change is fracking" he said "Those of us at Barton Moss last winter were in the front line of that battle... we had direct action, we had rallies like this, we had people in front of lorries every day for four months, people camping out in some of the worst weather imaginable; the police bending law in every way imaginable possible, to the extent of inventing a terrorist attack to frame us - but we did not have a political debate about fracking in this city.
"Salford City Council did not debate our petition, Trafford Council did not debate their own motion...if you want to pay £350 you can go to Media City on Friday and meet the fracking industry but I don't think they really want to speak to you and me" he added "Two thirds of this country is at risk from fracking, the whole world is at risk from climate change, yet we are locked out of the political debate.
"Wherever a meeting is held to decide this we are not invited" he explained "You shouldn't have to stand in front of a lorry or pay £350 to take part in democracy. We have been excluded from the politics and, as Plato says, `If you don't take part in politics you will be governed by your inferiors'.
"The Labour Party must listen to us on this one" he said "You cannot bring a new fossil fuel online in the next decade and keep your promises on climate change. You cannot condemn two thirds of Britain to air and water pollution and still claim to be the party that introduced the national parks and the green belt.
"Today we stop saying what we don't want and start demanding what we need to survive for the future" he added "We want a new industrial revolution; we want the wind turbines, the solar panels, the electric cars, trains, the technology that will help us to build a new cleaner, brighter future. We want real jobs, not a few temporary jobs for contractors that the fracking industry offers but real jobs. To make this happen we need to reclaim politics for the people...The first step in reclaiming the politics is reclaiming the Labour Party, the party that, in 1945, really was the greenest government ever.
"Climate change is the issue which will tell us whether they have listened" he concluded "When they agree to oppose the Tory Party to frack under our houses without permission, when they agree to oppose fracking, when they agree to give us one million climate jobs then we will know that we have reclaimed the power - because we are the people and when we use our voice in the right way we are unbeatable."
• There is an anti-fracking protest outside the £350 a head Fracking North Conference at MediaCityUK this Friday 26th September at 8am protest. See the Facebook event – click here
* Directly outside the Labour Party Conference entrance today was a protest about its use of G4S for security. In 2012 Ed Miliband called for G4S to be blocked from getting new Government contracts after it messed up during the Olympic Games but protesters today were bringing to the public and Labour Party delegates a whole range of issues surrounding G4S...
That G4S is integrally involved in the Israeli prison system, where Palestinians including children are illegally detained. That G4S guards were found by the Coroner to have `unlawfully killed' Jimmy Mubenga during his deportation; That G4S has mismanaged prisons in South Africa, Australia and this country (Oakwood); that G4S has been criticised by the Home Affairs Committee for the shocking conditions of its housing for people seeking asylum. And that G4S remains under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for charging public funds for electronically tagging dead people.
To visually demonstrate the abhorrence of G4S, the rally included a cage with a hooded person being abused...
Photos by Steven Speed.
There are loads more photos on the Salford Star Photo Stories section https://salfordstar.jux.com/3902249 or click here