LONDON — Former angelic child singing sensation Charlotte Church is as mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore.
The Welsh classical music star joined hundreds of British protesters over the weekend for demonstrations, some of which turned violent, against the re-election of the Conservative Party. Malcontents in London attacked police officers and threw smoke grenades outside the gates of Downing Street, where Prime Minister David Cameron was celebrating his shock victory in an election that was held just 48 hours earlier.
Five police officers were injured during spontaneous protests that called for an end to the freshly re-elected government’s package of austerity measures. Sharp spending cuts planned by the Conservatives in order to reduce Britain’s deficit were the principal target of Labour’s election campaign, but Cameron’s promise of economic stability triumphed at the ballot box.
The People's Assembly Against Austerity has announced that a far larger national protest will be hosted next month after this weekend’s spontaneous eruptions. Scotland Yard said one officer suffered a dislocated shoulder and another member of police support staff had been released from hospital after being struck by an object thrown by the crowd in central London. Three further officers were assaulted but their injuries were not considered serious.
Detectives are also investigating the vandalism of a monument to the women who served in the Second World War. Officers hope CCTV footage will reveal the identity of the person who painted “F*ck Tory scum” on the monument, during the very weekend that Britain was holding a series of events to mark the end of the war in Europe. "We have launched an investigation into criminal damage to the Women in World War II Memorial. This crime is particularly abhorrent considering we are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of VE Day,” said Chief Superintendent Gerry Campbell.
Socialist worker placards and anarchist symbols were displayed at the protest which attracted several hundred participants who chanted “Tories; scum!”
The Cardiff branch of the People’s Assembly held a peaceful demonstration which was addressed by Church, an operatic singer who has performed for popes, prime ministers and presidents. She was carrying a homemade placard referencing Howard Beale, the newscaster at breaking point from the cult 1976 movie Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”
Church told the crowd that the electorate had taken leave of its senses. “This week the U.K. masochistically condemned itself to five years of Tory rule,” she said. “Without the Liberal Democrats to center them they have no restraints, nothing to stop them from destroying our welfare system, selling off our health service, and even making constraints upon democracy.”
The singer’s intervention was not welcomed by the leader of the Welsh Conservative Party. “To denigrate the electorate, who has just spoken, within 48 hours of the election, is unfortunate and unbecoming,” said Andrew Davies. “It’s champagne socialists standing shoulder-to-shoulder.”