Manchester was just ‘united against the Tories’

A photo of the Peoples Assembly Demo with a police line at the front
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At the start of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, people have rallied against the party. And those attending made it clear that they were “united against the Tories”.

Assembling the people

The anti-austerity group People’s Assembly is holding a “Festival of Resistance” from 2-5 October in Manchester. Talks and workshops are happening across the four days, along with live music and other performances. People’s Assembly is running these in a marquee at Piccadilly Gardens. Events include:

  • “Drive to Survive” – members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti over the Tories’ police bill.
  • “Where next” for the NHS and social care?
  • A “wall of sound” noise protest outside the Tory conference on 4 October.
  • Corbyn in conversation with Guardian journalist Gary Younge.
  • The group Women Will Not Be Silenced talking about ‘rebel women and the importance of protest’.

But the main event was a protest on 3 October. And it appeared to be well-supported.

Disrupting the Tory conference

Crowds began to gather from around 12pm at this national demo. It started near Whitworth Park. People’s Assembly used the hashtag #UnitedAgainstTheTories. It reported that “thousands” turned out to march:

Groups at the protest included the:

The Young Communist League and some Marxist groups were also there:

“Johnson’s a wasteman”

Councillors and MPs from Manchester also turned out to march. And the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community was there; not least because of the persecution they face from the Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:

Chants of “Boris Johnson’s a wasteman” rang out:

Groups like Unite Community were also there, calling on the Tories to cancel the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit. The PCS Union band provided musical accompaniment for the marchers:

There was a police presence and the predictable “evidence gatherers” were snooping around. Meanwhile, police also appeared to be blocking the road that led to the Tory conference:

Speakers at the end of the march included People’s Assembly national secretary Laura Pidcock, general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) Sarah Woolley, Labour MP Barry Gardiner and others. National Union of Students (NUS) president Larissa Kennedy gave a rousing speech:

“Intergenerational”

Overall, a tweet from the People’s Assembly summed up the march well:

Now, the momentum that the group brought to Manchester needs to be built on up and down the country. The fightback against Johnson’s government must continue apace.

Featured image via Saul Staniforth

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  • Show Comments
    1. Good demo but the police presence was ludicrous. What kind of democracy is it when the elected have to be protected from the people by metre high steel barriers? This was a peaceful protest. A pity we didn’t get to march through the centre of the city: Quay St and Lower Moseley St aren’t particularly busy on a Sunday afternoon. We were cheerful and noisy but in any way malicious, yet we may face prison for doing what we did yesterday if the nasty Bill isn’t defeated. The important point is that this was democracy on the march, the common folk on the march. Bankers, financiers, money exchangers don’t need to march: they buy power and they silt their fortunes away off-shore. Our democracy is suborned by great wealth. Democracy is founded on equality: one person, one vote. We don’t give more votes to David Beckham because he’s wealthier than anyone should be. But he can buy power. All the rich can buy influence. That is a mockery of democracy. And those who claim to stand for it betray us: Blair avoiding the stamp duty of his £6.4 million London house. How much? Where did he get that money? By working for the many not the few? No by lying his way to power and manipulating his way to wealth. Does Corbyn buy £6 million properties? That’s why he wasn’t allowed to be PM, because he doesn’t side with the rich and powerful. The people need to wake up to how their democracy is being stolen, bit by bit. Ditch the rich, respect the rest. That’s the chant.

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