I predict a riot
60,000 demonstrate for democracy in Manchester 1819.
The latest email from the UK Stop the War Coalition, reminding us of the coming demonstration outside Labour Party conference in Manchester on September 23rd, has the following 'historical footnote' attached:
'The TIME TO GO demonstration will surround the GMEX arena, which is where the Labour Party conference is being held. GMEX is built on the site of St Peter's Field, where in 1819 60,000 working people gathered to demand that they have the vote, so they could have a political voice in a society which was then monopolised totally by the aristocracy. On 23 September 2006, we will be gathering at the same spot to insist that the vote that was denied to all but a small rich minority nearly 200 years ago, must now be shown to mean something in today's so-called "democracy". Tony Blair, with less than a quarter of the electorate voting for him, has taken Britain into illegal wars against the wishes of the majority of British people. He must be shown on 23 September that it is TIME TO GO from all his wars and his slavish obedience to George Bush's "war on terror".'
Indeed so, but lets not forget that the 1819 demonstration ended in a massacre as cavalry charged the crowd, leaving eleven dead and hundreds injured. Personally, I predict a riot at this coming demonstration, again started by the forces of 'law and order', but hopefully less like the one at Peterloo in 1819 and more like the one outside the Democratic national Convention in Chicago in 1968. The Whole World Will be Watching Manchester on 23 September...