date: 24 March 2011
embargo: 00.01hrs Friday 25 March 2011
The March for the Alternative on Saturday (26 March) will be the TUC's biggest event for decades, bringing together thousands of trade unionists, community group members and users of public services to oppose the government's spending cuts.
The TUC has been planning this event since before Christmas and will have more than 1,000 stewards to make sure the event runs smoothly. The march will assemble from 11am on Victoria Embankment and Lower Thames Street and depart around noon for a rally in Hyde Park, starting at 1.30pm.
Because of the large numbers attending there will inevitably be some congestion in the march form-up area and for the crowds heading home from the Park. To help people join the march and then leave the rally, the TUC has issued the following travel advice for attending on Saturday:
- Stagger arrivals - the march forms up from 11am but will still be leaving the Victoria Embankment well after 2pm so it makes sense to arrive later rather than earlier.
- Arrive from the back of the march - don't try and join the march from the front as the roads will be full. Stewards will divert people along parallel roads, so the sensible option is to choose stations like Southwark, Mansion House, Farringdon and Bank to join the march from the back.
- Don't join feeder marches -there are no official feeder marches and despite their best intentions, they will make the day more difficult for everybody. They risk interfering with the TUC's arrangements for disabled marchers, and as the main march will not be stopped to allow feeder marches to join it, will make for a long day.
The TUC is also suggesting that people should stagger their journeys home and research their public transport options from Hyde Park before attending as there are numerous stations within walking distance. There is lots of detailed travel advice on the march website http://marchforthealternative.org.uk/2011/03/18/travelling-to-the-march/
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Saturday looks set to be a huge, united and good-natured event, giving all those who want to oppose the government's deep, rapid and unfair spending cuts the opportunity to speak out.
'But the sheer size of the event means that marchers need to make sensible plans for the day, working out their routes there and back home, and bringing a packed lunch and water.
'The best tip of all is to visit the special march website and read all the detailed advice on that.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Further info about the logistics of the march and reasons why people are marching for an alternative to the cuts is available at www.marchforthealternative.org.uk
- Many of the roads in central London are being closed for the march, and broadcasters wishing to park vehicles near to the march form-up should contact the Metropolitan Police press office on 020 7230 2171.
- At around 11.50am, approximately ten minutes before the march moves off at around noon (but snappers and crews should be ready from about 11.30am), there will be an opportunity for photographers and film crews to take pictures and get shots of the front party line-up.
- The route to Hyde Park is just under three miles and it is estimated that the march will begin to arrive in the Park from approximately 1.15pm. From Victoria Embankment the march will turn into Bridge Street, into Parliament Square, up Whitehall, into Cockspur Street, and along the side of Trafalgar Square, into Piccadilly, around Hyde Park Corner and into the Park via the Apsley Gate. The entire route is just under three miles in length.
- Hyde Park is the venue for a rally featuring an array of speakers, films on giant screens highlighting the impact of the cuts and three short music breaks. The rally is expected to start around 1.30pm and will finish at 4.30pm. Because of the large numbers expected on the day, the TUC estimates that people will still be arriving in the Park at 4pm - and possibly even after that.
- Arrangements have been made for three trucks for the main UK broadcasters to be based within the Park, close to the stage area. There may be space for other broadcasters to park slightly further away from the stage near Speaker's Corner, contact the TUC press office for more details.
- There will be a media tent in the Park alongside the secure area behind the stage where journalists can go for information about the rally and to request interviews with TUC speakers. No press accreditation is being issued, but there will be a small area at the front of the stage allocated to a limited number of photographers and film crews carrying press cards. Because of numbers, it will not be possible to grant access to this area for the whole afternoon.
- The TUC will be sending updates throughout the day on Twitter as @march26march - follow us to stay in touch with what's happening. If you don't use Twitter, you can still get the updates on an iPhone or Android Smartphone by using the March for the Alternative phone app. This will display the latest updates, as well as maps and useful information for marchers. You can get it for your phone at http://bit.ly/march26app
- The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Twitter account @CO11MetPolice will be running for fast time communication updating information about the march, and responding to enquiries as appropriate. The MPS has also launched a texting service - to register text for free the word police to 83123, for updates throughout Saturday. The police will also be making use of Bluetooth technology, so journalists are encouraged to switch the facility on. Leaflets will be handed out on the day of the march, and matrix signs along the route will also contain information. The MPS website has a dedicated page on the march and will be updated with information throughout the day www.met.police.uk The 24 hours number for the MPS press office is 0207 230 2171.
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: email@example.com (general march enquiries, front of march form-up and interviews with Brendan Barber)
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: firstname.lastname@example.org (general enquiries, front of march and interview bids for Frances O'Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary, Paul Nowak, TUC Head of Organisation and Nicola Smith, TUC Head of Economics)
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: email@example.com (general enquiries, media enquiries in the park, until 1.15pm when Rob and Liz will arrive)
Issued: 25 March, 2011