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.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

March For The Squeezed Bottom!

When we started the hunt for placard makers, we hoped one or two might have taken photos of the placards on the demonstration. The odd snap, say.

So far though, documenting has proven the norm - not just at the march but in making the placards too. From Rita's video to Iain's photocopied hands.

The placards are all beginning to take on their own histories.

Continuing the trend is March For The Squeezed Bottom, the placard made by Katherine, Susie and Misty from London.

Like the other placards it was an impromptu number. As Misty explains, "We didn't buy anything special, but improvised using a piece of cardboard from an old box, which we covered in flipchart paper and attached to a broom handle."

"Everyone helped to make the placard.

"Susie came up with the slogan - inspired by the idea that the poor would be the ones who would lose out most by the cuts. There's been a lot of talk about the 'squeezed middle' but we were concerned about the impact of what was happening in areas such as Tower Hamlets where Susie works with community groups.

"Lots of poor parents and families stand to lose the lifelines that make life tolerable, like children centres.

"Katherine drew the lettering on the placard. Then Susie and Misty coloured in the letters and helped to decorate it with sticky dots and stars. Making the placard was quick and fun - very much a team effort. Done on the spur of the moment.

"We wanted to celebrate the fun that can be had through demonstrating, as well as to reflect the British sense of humour, to create something memorable and appealing, and to make people smile.

"It was a very exciting day.

"There was so much positive energy in the city - a real sense of community coming from the crowd and spectators. And we all felt that we were marching for something bigger than ourselves.

"This wasn't about individual profit or gain. It was about our society providing services for people who need them."