A number of anti-cuts protesters held up the Bristol City Council’s budget cuts meeting for over two hours.
As LibDem leader, Brabara Janke, rose to propose the biggest cuts in Bristol’s history: £28 million and the loss of 600 jobs, protesters in the public gallery challenged her and demanded that the Council speak up for the people of Bristol.
Security guards were called and then the police. The protesters passively resisted and were dragged and carried out. One person has been charged under the 1908 Public Meetings Act – a law orginally brought in against the suffragetttes!
The mayor suspended the meeting and ordered the public gallery to be cleared. The Labour Group then refused to take their seats until the public were allowed back in so the mayor relented. Altogether the meeting was held up for two hours. Some protesters managed to get back in later on but were thrown out after trying to make points from the gallery.
An interesting feature was the reaction of the Liberal Democrat councillors. Some sat there sheepishly, trying to ignore the protest. Some thought a protest at the damage they were doing to Bristol services was funny while others got really mad and tried to argue back. They were a sorry bunch.
Congratulations to those who went along to let Bristol City councillors know what it was they were elected for, and it wasn’t to destroy our services. All through the protest, even when being manhandled by security guards and the police, they maintained their dignity, which is more than can be said for some of the LibDems.