NOISY protesters descended on to the streets of Lewisham today for the Carnival against Cuts.

Demonstrators gathered outside libraries, banks and children’s centres at 34 locations across the borough, handing out leaflets and singing, before a march took place from the Town Hall.

The action was organised by Lewisham People Before Profit and Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance.

Speaking outside Barclays Bank in London Road, Forest Hill, organiser John Hamilton said: “It’s a focal point for the centre of Forest Hill more so than the library.

“The banks are one of the reasons we have been in this crisis of cuts.”

Mr Hamilton, who runs the Strawberry Thieves Choir, also protested on Thursday (February 17) before the Mayor and Cabinet meeting where the cuts were announced.

He said: “It was predictable that he would go ahead closing libraries and children’s centres. We have come to expect this from Steve Bullock.

“Although his words say he wants to protect vulnerable people in society his actions speak louder.”

Mr Hamilton added: “We want to see more people become involved as a result of today’s actions. We have several public meetings scheduled.

“If we want to keep Lewisham as a decent place to live then we need bigger protests in the future.”

Strawberry Thieves Choir member Kit Wilby, said: “The things we are losing we won’t ever get back. They are desperately needed.

“The voluntary sector is being decimated.”

The 62-year-old added: “I have been working in the big society for 30 years and it’s never been harder.

“I would be prepared to take these sorts of cuts if we were all in it together. We are a rich country but there is an increasing inequality. There will be people ending up on the streets.”

The Strawberry Thieves Choir sang We Will Fight On while demonstrating outside the Forest Hill bank.

Choir member Moira Harbord, aged 62, said: “In an already deprived borough a heap of cuts on top is going to make it intolerable for people.

“They have decided to shut five libraries even after major protest. They haven’t listened to people and have gone ahead with the cuts.”

Your Local Guardian: Carnival of Cuts Around 1,000 people then assembled outside the Town Hall for a march past Lewisham Hospital and Ladywell Leisure Centre, finishing with a rally on the grassy area on the corner of Lewisham High Street and Rennell Street.

Your Local Guardian: Rita Craft Rita Craft, aged 67, joined the march from outside Lewisham Hospital.

Mrs Craft said: “Lewisham services are being destroyed. We are having to stand by and watch it happen. It’s dreadful.”

She added: “People have worked decades to make sure people have a decent quality of life and now they are destroying it. We have to stand up and let the government and council know.”

Lewisham Pensioners Forum members also joined the march from outside the hospital.

Doris Lytle, aged 79, said: “It’s diabolical. The cuts should never happen. Lots of people are going to be under privileged especially the pensions."

Your Local Guardian: Doris Smith and Doris Lytle from the Lewisham Pensioners Forum Chair of the pensioners forum Doris Smith, said: “It’s going to be absolutely abysmal. As pensioners we know what it was like before the NHS so we know what it will be like if it goes. Once it goes there’s no getting it back.”

She added: “Older people are more politically aware having gone through many changes over the years. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes. Enough is enough.”

Louise Irvine has been a GP at the Waldron Health Centre, in Stanley Street, Deptford, for 15 years and joined the march “to keep our NHS public”.

She said: “I’m concerned about the huge cuts in health care. We were promised no cuts in front line staff.

“It means there won’t be services for my patients for me to refer them to such as rehabilitation. As a doctor I’m going to find it very hard to help my patients.”

The doctor added: “GP’s will be holding the budget for the NHS. It’s our job to make the cuts. That will undermine the doctor patient relationship, they won’t trust us. We don’t want to undermine that trust. ”

Your Local Guardian: LEWISHAM: 1,000 people march at the Carnival of Cuts Lewisham People Before Profit member, Ray Woolford, was at the back of the march helping people along the route.

He said: “We are amazed. We thought we would get 400 people. It’s a real good cross-section of the people in Lewisham.”

Meet with protesters in your area

- March 10 Keep Our NHS Public - 7.30pm to 9pm at the Saville Centre, in Lewisham High Street.

- March 14 7.30pm to 9pm at the United Reformed Church, in Bellingham Green. Speaker is Ian Page.

- March 15 7.30 to 9pm at the Wesley Hall Methodist Church, in Sydenham Road.

- March 19 Meet at The Albany, in Douglas Way, Deptford, from 6pm.

- March 24 All Saints Community Centre, in Monson Road, New Cross, from 7pm to 9pm.

March 26 National TUC Day of Action 11am outside Victoria Embankment then a rally in Hyde Park