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Friday, February 4, 2011

Birmingham protest ruins cabinet minister's job centre visit.

Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s visit to a job centre in Birmingham today didn’t go as he’d planned it. He arrived at the Sparkhill job centre in Sparkbrook to find some 30 protesters blocking the road.

Shouts of “Tory scum out of Brum” and “IDS go to hell, take your Tory cuts as well” filled the air as protesters made their anger at benefit cuts and the scapegoating of the poor clear.

Protesters occupied the road, blocking the entrance to the car park as the ministerial jaguar arrived. Protesters claim that the car didn’t stop and that one woman had to dive out of the way to avoid being hit.

“This is an area of some 20 percent unemployment,” one person told Socialist Worker. “The Tories are throwing more people on the dole and cutting our benefits—how dare Duncan Smith show his face here?”

A number of people who had come to sign on joined the demonstration and one came out to tell protesters that he had refused to shake Duncan Smith’s hand.

Birmingham Right to Work called the demonstration. Local people, PCS civil service union members and Birmingham Against the Cuts campaigners joined the protest as did Sparkbrook councillor Salma Yaqoob.

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