Thousands of protestors from the North East travelled to the TUC A Future That Works rally in London to protest against Government spending cuts.
Union leaders called for a general strike as around 100,000 workers, anti-war campaigners, politicians, community groups and other activists gathered in the capital.
Among those setting off from Newcastle before dawn on a coach organised by Coalition Resistance, was social worker Vanessa Cope.
She said: “The kind of people I work with, if there isn't any hope out there, there’s even less to motivate them.”
Also on the coach was warehouse worker Liam Stephenson, who said: “I come from a local authority background and I see the damage budget cuts are doing. My family feels the damage as well.”
More than 250 coaches were booked to bring marchers into London, with similar protests being held in Belfast and Glasgow.
Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed the crowds in Hyde Park, joining union officials to highlight the impact of spending cuts on public services.
He said Prime Minister David Cameron was 'clueless' and accused the Coalition of clinging to policies that are not working.
Live Blog: Tweets And Photos From The TUC Rally. Scroll Down For More, Story Continues BelowThere have been growing calls for the TUC to organise a general strike following industrial action by public sector workers in November 2011 over the Government's controversial pension reforms.
General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union Bob Crow said: "The marches are a building block towards the objective of co-ordinated action and a general strike."
And Public and Commercial Services Union leader Mark Serwotka is calling for co-ordinated strikes to be held as soon as possible after the protest.
As the coach set off from Tyneside, healthcare assistant Mark Tyers from Newcastle said: “There have been many general strikes in Greece, Spain and Portugal and it’s about time we had one in Britain.”
The Government insists that its programme of budget cuts is necessary to reduce the UK deficit and is a long-term solution to rebuilding the economy.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "Today Ed Miliband is headlining a rally calling for an end to every single spending cut needed to clear the deficit #labourisntlearning."
And Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman, said: "At today's march, Ed Miliband will be among friends - supporting his union donors who oppose every single one of our spending cuts.
"You can't be serious about clearing the deficit when you attend a march that calls for an end to austerity."
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