PUBLIC sector workers and union leaders from across Dorset joined a crowd of 250,000 in London to protest against Coalition cuts.

The TUC event was marred by outbreaks of violence by a small minority and most of the campaigners were unaware that trouble had flared.

Dave Higgins, Bournemouth Unison branch secretary said: “Obviously it’s always disappointing when things like this take place. It detracts from the message we are trying to get across.”

Pamela Jeffries, the union’s Dorset representative added: “It was a great turnout”.

She said: “The mood was good and people were quite clear it shouldn’t be our services and us paying for what’s happened. There is more than one way out of this and it’s certainly not the way our government is doing it.

“It seems to be causing more and more heartbreak and it’s only just started to hit.

“April is when we’ll see the impact of these cuts. People are angry.

“I don’t think cuts need to be made. They need to close the tax loops and go after tax evaders. That’s where the billions of pounds go.”

Services under threat in Dorset include rural libraries and school crossing patrols.

Meanwhile, most local authorities are making significant redundancies.

Jeff Cooke, secretary of Dorset NUT, said: “Hundreds of local people have taken part to show how angry they feel that services are being undercut, destroyed and marginalised by those who don’t understand what public sector workers, including teachers, provide.”

Primary school teacher Donna Beddows added: “Pension cuts are going to affect me hugely and I also disagree with the pay freeze, especially with everything else going up.”

Another participant, Roger Ansell said: “The bankers and those in similar positions are still getting away with it.”

*Additional reporting by Samantha Martin -Woodgate.