PROTESTERS from across Wearside are preparing to join hundreds of thousands of campaigners at tomorrow’s TUC march in the capital.
Thousands from the North East are expected to make the journey south for the protest in central London against Government cuts.
Five 60-seater coaches and 1,200 train places have been booked by campaigners from the region eager to take part in the event, which ends with a rally in Hyde Park.
The earliest coach sets off at 3am to make the 500-mile round trip. Organisers say it will be the biggest TUC-organised march for more than 20 years.
Among them will be members of Sunderland Against the Cuts, who will be setting off at 5am to travel down to London.
Organiser Gary Duncan, 40, said: “Our 49-seater coach is full and our supporters are more than keen to voice their anger.
“This historic event will be the turning point for the movement and will herald a new era of resistance.”
Union rep Chris Nicholas, from Town End Farm, is making the journey to London with members of the Communication Workers Union, which represents postal workers.
The 33-year-old said: “I’m travelling to London because it is important to give a voice to people’s frustrations at what the Government is doing and to show them that we won’t accept their unnecessarily-savage cuts to public services.”
Civil servant Richard Murray, 46, said he was marching because dramatic cuts had made him fear for his job.
He said: “I’m disabled and the Government sees disabled people as easy targets. I’m scared they’re going to get rid of me after 25 years’ loyal service.”
Marchers will gather at about 11am on the Victoria Embankment and head off through central London from noon, into Hyde Park, where the rally will start from about 1.30pm.
More than 2,000 stewards will guide them along the way and they will be accompanied by around 10 marching bands, playing a mix of music from samba to bangra and traditional brass.
Northern TUC Regional Secretary Kevin Rowan said: “The Government says there is no alternative.
“But the number of people coming from across the North East – with people willing to leave as early as 3am – illustrates the strength and breadth of support for an alternative to unnecessary and savage spending cuts.”