Today thousands of Fire and Rescue Service workers came from across Britain to protest at the government’s plans for their workplaces. The national demo was called by the Fire Brigades Union and exceeded the expected numbers despite the torrential rain.
Their main grievances are the raising of fire fighters working age to 60 which many see as ridiculous given the very physical nature of the work. The closure of fire stations in city areas which many believe will increase response times and therefore cost lives. Also the attack on members pensions is seen as a cynical move by a government prepared to spend billions bailing out banks.
As the protest passed through Whitehall hundreds of Firefighters broke from the route and mobbed around Downing Street. Seven very nervous police stood between them and the gates though the protest remained peaceful and good humored if extremely loud. Recent protests by Fire Fighters in Belgium have reminded many of the potential that they have to and its agents.
Photos by Guy Smallman