Helped ‘shape our democracy’: Lord Mayor commemorates Manchester’s bloody Peterloo Massacre anniversary

By Charlie Bennett

The violent and bloody Peterloo Massacre, often dubbed Manchester’s ‘Tiananmen Square’, was commemorated by the Lord Mayor this morning.

Councillor Elaine Boyes placed a wreath beneath the red plaque dedicated to the historical tragedy outside the Radisson Hotel at 11.00am.

It marked 193 years since the massacre, in which a crowd of over 60,000 peaceful protestors calling for parliamentary reform were charged by sword-wielding cavalry.

The brutal suppression left 15 dead and hundreds lay injured across an area of land nearby modern day St Peter’s Square.

Councillor Boyes said: “The Peterloo Massacre is an incredibly significant point in British history and it is important we remember this tragic day that helped shape the democracy we enjoy today.

“This anniversary gives us all time to reflect on the sacrifices that were made by brave men and women in the fight for a free and fair society, not just at St Peter’s Fields but around the world.”

Often referred to as ‘the Battle of Peterloo’ to mock the soldiers who turned their swords on unarmed civilians, the event had long-term repercussions and helped lead to the first reform of Parliament in 1832.

Nick Mansfield, director of the People’s History Museum in Salford, described Peterloo as ‘critical to our freedoms’.

Manchester City Council is currently working on plans to create a fitting and high quality memorial to the Peterloo Massacre.

The form and location of the memorial are yet to be decided though it will be within the area where the events of August 16 1819 took place.

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