Thursday, September 28, 2006

Peterloo Rally of Resistance


Yesterday's Stop the Warmongers event in Manchester received an extreme police over-reaction. Stop the Warmongers was formed by Manchester peace activists partly in response to the national Stop the War Coalition's decision to overrule their preference for a Sunday national demonstration (the day Labour conference actually started), but then grew as an umbrella group organising a series of protests and events throughout the week of Labour party conference.

The brutal over-reaction of the police seemed to take a lot of people by surprise - even in the Orwellian new Britain that we now live in. There was a large number of journalists there (mostly after 2pm, when the protest had already informed the police that it was willing to disperse, but the police wouldnt let it). they were visibly shocked, especially the ones that the police wouldn’t let in or out of their cordons.

The police wanted the protest to take place in the confines of the "peace gardens" (an undefined area that they had decided extended to a point about 10 feet nearer the statue than we were gathered). Without any notification to us, they then blocked the way to this space, so it was no longer possible for the protest to move there.

Then they surrounded the protest (at the point when those with small children had left, there were at least 150 police officers and 46 protestors contained by them). the protest made the offer of dispersing at 2pm was relayed to the chief inspector, Stuart Barton. he immediately refused this offer and insisted that the protest remain there till 2.30. he also then had the legal observer removed from his presence (who had until then been virtually instructed by the police to talk to him on a regular basis).

The police appear to have arrested two people - one elderly, disabled woman, who was carrying a placard and may have been goaded by a woman police officer as she left, and another young man who was not part of the protest at all but had been shopping with a friend and walking through the square and may have been arrested for swearing at a police officer. there were a couple more incidents where people thought other police officers were trying to take their details or detain them further but these appear to have been by police not part of containing the protest (eg the "regular" presence on the trams etc).


Renegade Eye said...

Why arrest an old, disabled woman, of all people to be arrested.

AN said...

and a passer by!

Anonymous said...

There are further photos and reportings at

the cordoning started fairly randomly - a group of us had decided to leave the rally for a moment to get some food and the police attacked us, several of us got shoved against a tree and I and a friend had said tree used as a means to break us apart. they then continued to shove us back even when it was physically impossible (and dangerous) to do so, refused to let us leave or tell us under what laws we were being held, and had us followed once we left the cordon.

nobody got hurt (tho a little shaken), but nonetheless, this is absolutely ridiculous. the crowd had children, the elderly, the disabled, and others; further, it was nothing more than a peaceful rally which was met with a three-cop-thick cordon backed with horses and dogs. sigh.

I am an anarchist but SUN is probably one of the best socialist resources I've come across and is thankfully empty in the sectarian sniping which seems to follow leftism wherever it goes. nice one :-)

- Jonathan

badmatthew said...

Thanks for this posting as I hadn't seen any coverage of this - and the police's approach before. Alex Callinicos in his Socialist Worker column talks about the police filming people going to the STW conference on Sunday, and even attempting to go in. This is a definite and systematic change in policing in the name of security, and part of a generalised attack on civil liberties. It needs a high profile and militant response!

Anonymous said...

Not really sure where ou get the "change" bit mate, they've been filming and harassing us for years (see G8, Beyond ESF, May Day, etc.)...

agree there needs to be a response however, they can only get away with this shit as long as we allow them to.

- Jonathan

The Sentinel said...

Once again you play underhanded games. Obscuring the truth and propagating lies, everywhere you slither.

You are nothing more then an excuse for a man with no concept of right or wrong.

Your repugnant beliefs are responsible for this shit hole we call the UK today.

You despise this country and its inhabitants and are nothing more then a traitor who does not have enough courage to live in the countries whose peoples you wish to import here wholesale or whose systems you advocate for our own.

History is a self repetitive entity however, and your day will soon end.

And the traditional punishment for treason will come back again.