THE Young Socialists March for Jobs and Free State Education had its first leg from Manchester to Stockport yesterday.
After a great march through Manchester on Saturday, the marchers stayed the night at Manchester University Students Union.
Sunday started early, with the marchers gathering at 11.00am in St Peter’s Square, scene of the Peterloo Massacre.
Before the march set off, a local historian, Paul Comerford, spoke to the marchers.
He said: ‘It’s really appropriate that the Young Socialists march should be setting off from St Peter’s Square.
‘On August 16, 1819, between 50,000 and 60,000 people stood on this site.
‘They were protesting for the right to free speech and the abolition of the Corn Laws.
‘It was a peaceful demonstration but on Ancoats Lane, the Dragoons, young sons of wealthy families, rode down into St Peter’s Square, cutlasses in hand.
‘They’d been drinking all day at the Iron Dish Ale House, which is now the site of the Crown and Kettle.
‘They didn’t slow down, but rode straight into the crowd.
‘The crowd heard them coming.
‘The first child held his hand up, saying: “I’m only here with me mum’’. There were 15 killed and 600 injured.
‘Basically, it was the first ever workers’ demonstration in Britain or the world.
‘Manchester was the first city that stood up against the Houses of Parliament.
‘I wish the Young Socialists march well.’
Sarah Jackson and three of her friends posed for a photograph with the marchers beneath the Peterloo Massacre plaque.
She told News Line: ‘I’m a teacher and this government is doing terrible things to education.
‘I agree with the call for a general strike.
‘I wish you all the luck in the world and I wish I could march with you.’
The marchers set off, chanting slogans all the way: ‘No cuts, no closures! Kick this government out!’, ‘Youth demand a future! Youth demand jobs!’, ‘What do we want? Free education! When do we want it? Now!’
Young people joined the march en route from Manchester to Stockport.
Stefan Jones, Arif Miah and Matthew Carney joined the march just outside Manchester.
Stefan said: ‘I don’t think it’s right to pay for education.
‘Poor families can’t afford tuition fees.
‘Nick Clegg, and David Cameron – I don’t like them at all.
‘I’ve marched against student fees before and I’m really pleased to join this march today.’
Arif said: ‘David Cameron is supposed to be stopping EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) and lots of other benefits.
‘I think it’s time to kick this government out.
‘I’d like to march all the way to London.
‘I’m 16 and I got put back a year because of behaviour.’
‘I’ve just got to check with my mum if I can join the march. I hope she’ll let me.’
Matthew said: ‘If they cut child benefit, people are going to struggle to feed their families and people will die.
‘People need jobs to pay the rent and to feed their kids.
‘I really agree with the march. We have to get rid of the government.
‘They’re money-grabbers who don’t care about other people, only themselves.’
Today the marchers are in Stockport all day, before moving on to Glossop tomorrow.