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Pensions protest

PENSIONLESS protesters from Bognor Regis stopped the traffic in central London.


The three members of Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) were among 1,000 or so who staged the rally and march in the capital.


They began at the Reformers Tree in Hyde Park and ended outside the Houses of Parliament as the women continued their fight against the rapid increase in their state pension age to 66.


One of those from Waspi’s Chichester, Bognor and South Coast group who was involved was Helen Downes.


She said: “Following the rally we made our way to Parliament Square. This culminated in a lot of chanting outside the Houses of Parliament and singing our anthems accompanied by a woman playing a bongo.


“You can imagine the din from our whistle blowing, pot banging and horn squeezing. We had all taken something to make a noise.”


“Spontaneity then took over. The traffic lights stopped the traffic and women piled into the road. There were women chained together – shouting and blowing their whistles.


“We were truly as one – sisters at arms. It was very empowering. We held the traffic up for one-and-a-half hours.”


The women were visited by several MPs during the sit-down. BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce had to resort to a police escort to get to Millbank studios.


The event last Wednesday mirrored the first official meeting of the Sufragettes. Helen and another group member, Angie Taylor, dressed up Suffragettes.


They also carried photos of women who couldn’t attend – because of ill-health, poverty or work – and six decorated Waspi stones to commemorate others who were unable to be present.


As well as Waspi, several other groups fighting for better pensions took part.

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