Peaceful mass protest leads to massacre

Trawling through history that should not be forgotten I have come up with an event in August 1819, in St Peter's Field, Manchester, England. It started with a peaceful gathering of about 50 000 people, radical protesters. One description of the reasons for the protest highlights increasing unemployment and the lack of power and parliamentary representation for ordinary people. A heavy-handed military response by the authorities left 11 dead and hundreds injured. It became known as the Peterloo Massacre.

As usual with tragic events such as this at any date and any place in the world, you can find different opinions about who was to blame for the deaths and injuries and whether the events could have been handled differently. All this was long before Amnesty International was formed but of course there were many people who protested or complained about what happened.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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