Manchester was handed the chance to protest against anything last Friday – and fists were raised to rally against shaving beards and liberating ‘q from u’.
Claire Curtin led the People’s Protest from the museum to Lincoln Square where around 40 protestors made speeches on the subject of their choice, mixing with others with differing views.
The celebration came on the 195th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre at an infamous protest and also while debate continued to rage on about the continuing King Street Gaza protests.
Artist Claire said: “It was really good. I had prepared myself for the worst, whatever that was.
“It was a nice celebration of protest.”
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Protestors were able to target common themes like the NHS and the Prime Minister with a ‘Down with Dave’ placard.
But some activists targeted the lesser-seen issues in everyday life such as beards, equal rights for long-term relationships and marriage and even ‘liberating q from the u’ in the English language.
Claire said: “It’s not at the forefront of the public’s mind, but we all have our own issues and that might not be the same as everyone’s issue.
“It was a real range and that’s what I wanted.”
CELEBRATING PROTESTS: Loz Kaye’s placard read ‘down with this sort of thing’
Claire’s micro-residency at the People’s History Museum ran all last week, focusing on the power of protests, encouraging Mancunians to create placards, screen prints and other art work to fight the power.
In a two-week vote for their three favourite artists, 1,165 people selected a final three for the £600 residency and the chance to work at the museum – which has the motto ‘the home of ideas worth fighting for’.
Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye attended the event and even delivered a speech on Mancunians’ right to ‘take to the streets and protest’ as well as ‘defending it’.
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“I spoke about Manchester as a place to protest and I think it is an important part of our heritage,” he said.
“Sir Richard Leese said about the recent Gaza protests that he is happy for protests to go as long as they are away from people, places and things which is kind of missing the point.”
On the event itself, Loz believed that the march showed that protests don’t have to be controversial and provocative to make their point.
“It was really fun actually,” he said.
“It was quite light-hearted which was nice, it goes to show that protests don’t have to be angry all the time to make their point.”
PREPARING A PROTEST: Printing the placards in the studio
There was also entertainment including a short set from three-piece protest specialists The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists who belted out activist favourites from Bob Dylan and Bob Marley among others.
Claire even noted that the rally attracted the attention of the passing public with Mancunians joining forces with the protestors.
Image courtesy of Claire Curtin, with thanks.