Maxine Peake joins Peterloo massacre walk

Maxine Peake joins Peterloo massacre walk

Maxine Peake and Chris Chilton

The Peterloo massacre

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , education reporter

WALKERS in Bolton will follow in the footsteps of campaigners who marched to St Peter’s Field to call for parliamentary reforms to remember the victims of the infamous Peterloo Massacre.

Bolton actress Maxine Peake will take part in Sunday’s commemoration event, where she will read out the names of the dead.

Eighteen people were killed and more than 700 maimed in the bloody massacre when an armed cavalry charged at the peaceful crowd who had trudged to Manchester on August 16, 1819, to what is now St Peter’s Square, campaigning for national Parliamentary change, in-cluding the right to vote.

Chris Chilton, of Bolton Socialist Club, said: “The Bolton to Manchester march remembers those who died in the struggle for democracy in 1819 at the hands of sabre-wielding cavalry in St Peter’s Field, Manchester.

“Of the estimated 60,000 people who had gathered peacefully to hear Henry Hunt, one of the great political reformers of his time, at least 18 died and 700 were injured.

"In 1819 less than two per cent of the people had the vote. Hunger and deprivation were rife.

“The vast majority of people were voiceless. Peterloo was a turning point in the struggle for a political voice to influence the way ordinary people’s lives were shaped.”

Those taking part will be following the original routes to Manchester from Bolton, and join up with those coming from across Greater Manchester at 1pm at the plaza in front of the Manchester Central conv-ention centre, where the original protest took place.

It is hoped the walk will give weight to the campaign calling for a permanent memorial to the victims of the massacre.

Mr Chilton said: “Rem-embering these people in 2014 also reminds us that the rights they fought for are being eroded.

“Hugely important areas of public life are incre-asingly being withdrawn from public accountability and scrutiny.

“The August 17 march is not only a commemoration of those who gave their lives at Peterloo in the cause of democracy, it’s a call to action to defend the rights they handed down to us.”

Those wishing to take part can meet at 8am at Bolton Socialist Club in Wood Street.

For further information, visit the Facebook page Peterloo Massacre 192nd Anniversary.

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