Protests by climate activists and the traditional left have taken to the streets of London, as cost of living campaigners Enough Is Enough called for rallies on the same day supporters of Just Stop Oil vowed to “occupy Westminster”.
At King’s Cross station on Saturday, a rowdy samba band, bearing Extinction Rebellion insignia, played as men and women with RMT and CWU union tabards and flags gathered near a small stage.
On the day of the latest energy price cap rise, Enough Is Enough, the trade union-backed cost of living campaign, has called for protests in the capital and 50 other British towns and cities.
At the same time, Just Stop Oil, the radical climate protesters, and a coalition of allied groups called for supporters to march from 25 London locations to “occupy Westminster”.
The protests come as 200,000 union members walked out of work, with rail unions RMT, Aslef and TSSA, and postal workers’ union the CWU, striking over pay and conditions.
Enough Is Enough, which has been supported by senior figures in the RMT and CWU, as well as prominent leftwing MPs, claim 800,000 have signed up to support their demands.
They have called for pay rises above inflation, cuts to energy bills, a massive drive to build new homes, support for people who cannot afford food, and more taxes on the richest. Their campaign comes as the government has slashed taxes on the highest earners, and has hinted on massive real terms cuts to benefits.
On Saturday, the group was also holding rallies in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Norwich.
Just Stop Oil have come into the autumn after a spring and summer of non-violent civil disobedience protests against England’s fuel distribution network.
As part of a coalition of groups, including Insulate Britain, Animal Rebellion, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project, they have broadened their demands from an end to all new oil infrastructure to include more taxes on the rich and support with energy bills.
Corbyn, the former Labour leader, drew rapturous applause as he denounced the government’s plans to cut taxes for the richest and benefits for the poorest.
“Our strength is our organisation, our strength is our unity,” Corbyn said. “So let’s stand up for what we believe in.”
Dave Ward, the general secretary of the CWU, said the campaign would pressure the Labour party “into the right place to stand up for working people”.
“Everybody’s job who cares about people in this country to have a fair deal for everything, we have got to build collectivism,” Ward said.
“Are you ready for that? Enough is enough. Let’s get out there: let’s protest, let’s rally. We are going to make change.”
Figures within the Enough Is Enough campaign have told the Guardian there was no coordination between the two groups before Saturday’s protests.