A mood of resistance is building in Manchester ahead of the Tory Party conference, which will be held there in October.
The TUC has called a national demonstration for the first day of the conference on Sunday 4 October. And the People’s Assembly will be organising protests throughout the week it is on.
The resistance has already begun.
Some 150 people joined a spontaneous protest in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre on Tuesday of last week. Police responded by drawing batons and making arrests.
The protest started after a group of young unemployed people dropped a banner reading “We won’t pay for their crisis” from the roof of a building.
People’s Assembly activist Katrina Lawrie was on the protest. She told Socialist Worker, “After about five minutes there were about 150 people having a look at what was going on. Then the police turned up and cordoned off the entire area.”
Police arrested one young woman as she walked away from the protest.
And cops wielding batons formed a line and began moving on a group of protesters who were gathered round a speaker playing music.
Katrina said, “All the different campaigns seem to be coming together. Piccadilly Gardens is becoming a focal point for people to come together to discuss things.
“People seem to be becoming politicised really quickly.
“Many of these are unemployed young people who feel like they’ve been failed by the system.” She added, “Twice more this week people have been in Piccadilly Gardens.
“And both times police have turned up and arrested people on trumped up charges.
“It seems like they’re in training for 4 October. Greater Manchester Police have a reputation for violence, but this was on a different level.”
The protest happened on the same night that some 100 people attended a People’s Assembly meeting to plan for the week of protests in October.
Many people at the meeting argued for direct action protests during the week of the conference.
And they discussed booking churches and community centres for protesters from outside the city to stay in.
Manchester People’s Assembly activist Martin Empson was at the meeting. He told Socialist Worker, “Manchester does not have a single Tory councillor or MP.
“We will be making sure that the delegates know from the moment they get off their trains that they are not welcome.”
He added, “If this ‘siege’ of the Tory conference is going to work we will need hundreds of activists getting involved.”