35,000 protest outside UK Tory conference

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An estimated 35,000 people turned out in Manchester, northwest England, to demonstrate at the governing Conservative Party's annual conference, which opened Sunday.

The march was organised by the Trades Union Congress, which billed it as a rally for "the alternative -- jobs, growth, justice".

"The TUC is organising a march and rally to show opposition to the coalition government's disastrous policies of pay freezes, cuts and attacks on public services that are producing rising unemployment, cuts in living standards and stagnation," it said.

Police put the crowd estimate at 35,000.

Mainstream public sector workers were taking part, along with left-wing activists. Demonstrators carried placards reading: "unite and fight".

Prime Minister David Cameron's centre-right Conservative Party is the senior partner in the governing coalition formed with the centrist Liberal Democrats. They are committed to balancing Britain's books by 2015.

As the march snaked past the conference centre, protesters chanted: "David Cameron on your bike, we want a general strike!"

Mancunian fire alarm tester Gerry Collier, 64, said: "I'm here to show solidarity, and I'm against the government policy of cuts and attacks on pensions.

"There are thousands of people here, but I doubt the Tories will listen."

© 2011 AFP

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