ANTI-CUTS protesters from Huddersfield travelled to London to join the mass demonstration against the Government.
More than 400 people from the town took part in the March for the Alternative organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Organisers said between 400,000 and 500,000 union members and campaigners were involved in the rally – the largest protest since the march against the Iraq War in 2003.
It was marred when 200 people not connected with the march were arrested as trouble flared after the rally.
Huddersfield-based protester Mike Forster said the streets had been so busy they had not been able to make it to hear Labour leader Ed Miliband’s speech in Hyde Park.
“The sheer numbers of people made it impossible for us to even complete the march,’’ he said.
“It took us four hours to walk about half the length of the demonstration. We then had to leave to catch our coaches home.
“This didn’t detract from the overwhelming feeling of determination, solidarity and pleasure to see so many people from all over the country who had come together to protest against the Government’s austerity programme.
“This demo will be remembered for a long time and we hope it is a springboard for more co-ordinated action to stop all the cuts.
“It was particularly striking to see so many young people, trade unionists and users of public services coming together in a huge coalition. I have never seen so many trade union banners together in one demonstration.
“It is very clear the Government does not have a mandate to carry out all their measures.
“Everyone was united in identifying the cause of these cuts – the banking system which got us in this mess.
“Calls for more taxation for the rich bankers, corporations and oil companies were everywhere. The Government can easily raise the money to pay for public services, but they don’t have the will power and would sooner send hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people into poverty.”
The official demonstration was marred by vandalism by splinter groups who attacked high profile retailers and banks in London’s West End, including Top Shop and HSBC.
UK Uncut, an anti-cuts direct action group, also occupied the upmarket Fortnum & Mason store in Piccadilly, claiming the firm had “dodged” paying taxes.
More than 200 people were arrested after a number of clashes with police and riot police were called in after hundreds of activists occupied Trafalgar Square late into the night.
The words “fightback” and “Tory scum” were scrawled on one of the four bronze lions, and there was red paint damage to part of the 2012 Olympics countdown clock.
A placard demanding ‘hands off Libya’ was placed high on the statue of King Charles I.
Mr Forster added: “Unfortunately the publicity has highlighted the actions of a small group of mainly anarchists who broke away from the march to cause trouble.
“This has detracted from the main message of our protest.
“While we condemn their actions, we also understand there are a lot of young people who are angry about the destruction of free education and rising youth unemployment.”
Keith Williamson, 55, a teacher at Shelley College, said: “The Government says it’s making no cuts to education but it’s a lie.
“We’re at risk of losing lots of students because they will all lose their Education Maintenance Allowance.”