Members of a new anti-austerity collective will stage a ‘Death of Derry’ march this Saturday to highlight the impact of years of economic neglect of the North West.
The new North West Anti–Austerity Collective (NWAAC), which describes itself as a ‘broad grouping of grassroots activists’, is also screening Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winning film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ at venues across the city this month.
The group also said it will occupy Guildhall Square for 24 hours at the beginning of next month while the count for the Northern Ireland Assembly election is taking place at the Foyle Arena.
Gary McClean, speaking on behalf of the NWAAC, said members had decided they “can no longer sit idly by and watch our political parties destroy our city by either voting for austerity, handing it back to London or sitting on their hands and doing absolutely nothing to fight it”.
He said: “Following a series of discussions this grouping has reached a consensus that, although we may not agree on every issue that we are facing within society, we can agree to work together on a large number of issues collectively; what cannot be agreed on will no longer be permitted to stop us working on matters that we can reach agreement on.
“NWAAC have finalised plans for a number of actions that will take place over the next couple of weeks that will seek to raise awareness around the impact that this Austerity Programme will have on the people of Derry/Londonderry and beyond, especially the poorest within our society.
“These issues will not be of the ‘traditional notion’ of Orange and Green, rather, it will be the case that both traditional communities and ethnic minority communities will suffer equally; for this very reason, we are calling on everyone to become actively involved with us in combating this monster called austerity.”
He said that a ‘Death of Derry’ march on Saturday, February 25, will be preceded by a ‘wake’ which will be held on February 23 and 24 in Guildhall Square, during which activists will distribute ‘Mass Cards’ containing statistics on austerity.
Mr. McClean said the series of events will culminate in a 24 hour ‘occupation’ of Guildhall Square from 1pm on Friday, March 3 to Saturday, March 4.
He said: “We are calling on those who feel that they are fit and healthy enough, to join us on this protest camp; to bring tents and wrap up warm.
“For those who are not able to participate in the full 24 hours, we welcome you to join us for whatever length of time that you can to show your support and solidarity to those who most need us to fight for them.
“NWAAC is calling on everyone to come together and collectively resist this austerity programme which will inevitably lead our society into what will be compared in the history books to the Dickensian Era; with the same level of savage poverty inflicted on the most vulnerable in our society.
“If you can spare some time to help the struggling working class of our city to fight back against local establishment parties and Tory austerity, we would like to invite you to contact us via our Facebook page: North West Anti-Austerity Collective.”