On the 16th of August 1819, in what is now St Peter’s Square, over sixty thousand peaceful protestors gathered to hear “Orator” Henry Hunt speak, with the aim of invoking government reform. Despite the organised, civilised nature of the protest, the crowd was charged by paramilitary yeomanry, which resulted in the death of over fifteen civilians.
Recently students across Manchester united in an empowering march for Reclaim the Night’s forty-fifth anniversary. Attendees protested in solidarity for women, sex worker, trans and non-binary victims of violent misogyny. Speakers talked of their experiences furthering the campaign for safer streets and for GMCA to cut ties with organisations harming women and sex workers. This march is part of a long history of student collective action for social justice. The students of Manchester Anti-Apartheid protest exemplifies this tradition and perhaps we can learn something from this movement to inform the activism of today.