Below Fiona Edwards from the Student Assembly Against Austerity interviews Bristol Against Austerity activist and A Level student Rosie Simmons who was one of the organisers of the protest.
When we woke up last Friday morning to the news that the Tories won the election we were very shocked and disappointed.
Why did you decide to organise a protest following the Tories winning the election and why do you think its important for young people and students to get involved in the movement against austerity?
We also disagree with the Tories themselves, as we think that they are fundamentally selfish party who over the next 5 years are going to make living in this country even harder for those that are less well-off.
We finally disagree with the first past the post system, as 76% of those eligible to vote did not vote for the Tories, but they still won with a ‘majority’. We think it’s important for young people to get involved in the movement against austerity because whether or not it’s affecting you or someone you know, we need to take care of the people in our country that are struggling, not take away from them.
After the general election, we were all really disappointed and unhappy with the results. We were tweeting about how we wished that we could get involved with some sort of protest, and annoyed that there wasn’t one in Bristol, so we decided to make one ourselves! We knew that there are enough people in Bristol angry about the election results to make it viable. So we made a group chat on facebook, made an events page, invited all our friends, and it really caught on! A lot of people felt that they needed an outlet to express their views and come together, and we provided that platform.
What are the next steps in your campaign?
We’re currently studying for our A-levels so we’re talking at a couple of events and then taking a break until exams are over! After that though we are planning on dealing with the direct effects of austerity; by helping at food banks and women’s shelters in Bristol. We’re really excited that as a result of the protest we now have sufficient contacts and support to be able to make a big difference in our community!
On Saturday 20 June hundreds of thousands of people will be marching on the ‘End Austerity Now’ national demo. We are organising a student bloc – do you have a message on why people should join us?
People should join this march because we, as people living in the UK need to make our voice heard. This isn’t about being bad losers, or expecting the Tories to magically disappear, but about seeing a massive problem in government policy that is going to affect so many people’s lives negatively and showing that we don’t like it and we’re not going to be complacent while austerity continues to affect the people in our communities that are already suffering. So please join us, the more people that come, the more of an impact we can make!
Inspired? Join the fight back today! Come along to the massive national demo on Saturday 20 June and find out about other actions you can take in the run up here (including local protests which are happening nationwide)