On 26 March 2011, 500,000 people marched through London in protest against government spending cuts. The March For The Alternative was one of the largest demonstrations ever seen in the UK.

To mark the day, the SAVE OUR PLACARDS team asked people to leave their protest material at a tree in Hyde Park.

Hundreds left us their placards, banners, and costumes. And we've worked hard to find new audiences for the material since.

Below, people share the politics behind their slogans, their experiences of the demonstration, and thoughts on what has happened since in Con-Dem austerity Britain.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Pair O' Penis

And we're off!

First to be tracked down is London-based artist Rita Ruggeri who donated her placard at our tree in Hyde Park at the end of the March For The Alternative.

Rita is a sculptor, painter and photographer who describes her work as "minimal but filled with content."

In an email to Save Our Placards she explains the thinking behind her creation...
"This protest placard is made from disgarded plywood that was thrown out with the rubbish. It is a simple design - the shape cut out using an electric hand saw and the whole thing held together with a single bolt through the middle. The whole thing took roughly an hour to make; a simple design with a complex message.
"It is a pair of warhead missiles and it is a pair of dicks. A Pair'o'Penis. This is to represent weaponry and warfare as primarily a male led circumstance, an extension of the male ego and power. 
"The balls, the testicles, are sperm banks and I wrote the text "$10000000000" up the shaft to make it blatant - the corruption of banks, the billions of pounds and dollars spent on warfare or held in banks by the elite few whilst people the world over struggle to meet their most basic needs (in the UK, budget cuts in sectors such as the NHS, education, child welfare, etc.) 
"The placard is also shaped as a pair of scissors, to represent these cuts and also to represent castration - the castration of greed. 
"Finally, it is a sad bunny rabbit to represent the government cuts in child benefit.
"The creation of this placard just fell into place rather naturally; I believe in social change and the power of the people's voice to create social change. When I heard about the 26 March protests, the idea grew from a sketch I drew and the placard just happened!"
And if that's not enough, Rita even filmed the making of her placard. We reckon the Cranberries-Killers-Nirvana soundtrack is a nice touch.

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