Liverpool

Second protest at Lib Dem conference in Liverpool

TUC rally Liverpool 19 Sept
Image caption Public and private sector unions joined forces at the rally

Protesters against government cuts have gathered close to the Liberal Democrats' annual conference in Liverpool for a second day.

More than 4,000 demonstrators took part in the TUC rally at Salthouse Dock.

The unions were asked to use the public space by Albert Dock instead of the area outside the Echo Arena where they gathered on Saturday.

Police said temporary structures including the Liverpool wheel made it unsafe to site the protest there again.

'Enormous impact'

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Britain's biggest union, Unite, who addressed the rally, said: "It was a shame we couldn't get nearer the conference because we really needed the Liberal Democrats to hear us.

"This rally was the first time that public and private sector unions have come together to protest at the coalition's plans to assassinate public services.

"Cuts in the public sector have an enormous impact on the private sector. It's very clear that if schools aren't being built then construction workers lose jobs.

"Nobody should listen when the politicians say we're all in this together as they are not affected by these savage cuts in the way that ordinary people who rely on public services are."

'Coffers empty'

Speaking inside the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "People have got used to us being outsiders, against every government that's come along.

"Maybe we got used to it ourselves, but the door to the change we want was opened, for the first time in most of our lifetimes.

"Imagine if we had turned away. How could we ever again have asked the voters to take us seriously?

"Labour left the country's coffers empty, so the years ahead will not be easy.

"But you do not get to choose the moment when the opportunity to shape your country comes your way.

"All you get to choose is what you do when it does."

The Liberal Democrat conference is being held at the arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool until 22 September and will be attended by more than 6,000 delegates.

The conference is expected to bring at least £10m into the Merseyside economy.

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