Communities against cuts rally in Belfast
Communities from across Belfast have gathered at City Hall to protest against the devastating cuts proposed in the draft budget.
Members of the Communities Against Cuts campaign group, which represents community, youth, education, advice, arts and cultural sectors in the north, were among those to assemble at the protest in Belfast on Thursday.
Simultaneous rallies were also held in Derry, Strabane and Limavady.
Joe Duffy of the Communities Against Cuts campaign said the budget will see damaging cuts to both public and community services, which will have a "devastating impact on all our people and communities".
"This budget proposes we institutionalise poverty by cutting the already meagre support available to the most vulnerable in our society," he said.
"Job losses for youth, education, community and advice workers will see the most immediate impact, but the long-term devastation this will cause to the most vulnerable people and communities in Belfast and across the region will be truly devastating.
"After the pandemic, communities were told of the current government's commitment to ‘build back better’; instead they are doubling down on the failed austerity policy of the previous decade.
"It failed then and it will fail now, and the most vulnerable will suffer.
"Our communities are not prepared to accept this and will be making their voices heard on the streets, government offices and every available forum to safeguard the future of our children and communities.”