UP to 8,000 demonstrators from Sheffield are estimated to have joined the huge anti-cuts rally in London last Saturday.
They were among the crowd of between 250,000 and 500,000 on the March for the Alternative organised by the Trades Union Council, which saw small groups of anarchists attack shops and banks.
Rod Padley, branch secretary of Unison, said: “The march itself was a fantastic occasion. I couldn’t believe how many people turned out. There were up to 8,000 demonstrators from Sheffield alone, which was exceptional.
“We had placards, flags and banners with us – and there were people from all ages, from teenagers to families and pensioners.
“A lot of the news reports have concentrated on the trouble but this has got to be one of the biggest demonstrations in years and made a powerful message.”
James Mills, director of the national campaign to save Educational Maintenance Allowance, said: “There were students from Sheffield’s universities and Sheffield College who were on the march.
“It’s positive to see so many young people taking an active role in democracy. Those involved in violence were a very small minority.”