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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Call for Peterloo statue memorial
Peterloo campaigner Paul Fitzgerald
Paul Fitzgerald says the current plaque is not enough
Campaigners are calling for a more fitting monument to one of the most brutal chapters in Manchester's history, the Peterloo Massacre.

At least 11 people were killed and hundreds more injured when the military attacked pro-democracy campaigners at St Peter's Fields on 16 August, 1819.

Campaigners say a city centre plaque marking the event is inadequate.

City council leader Sir Richard Leese says he agrees and the current plaque will be replaced.

Calls for a permanent monument coincided with 188th anniversary of the massacre, which historians say had a huge influence on giving ordinary people the vote.

The event is marked by a blue plaque on the Radisson Hotel - formerly the Free Trade Hall - on Peter Street.

Peterloo plaque
You can't describe a massacre like that, as 'their subsequent dispersal by the military'
Peter Fitzgerald

It states that radical orator Henry Hunt addressed a crowd of about 60,000 people and "their subsequent dispersal by the military is remembered as Peterloo".

Paul Fitzgerald, leading the campaign for a permanent statue, said: "We launched the campaign a short while ago, immediately heard about the plaque and came to look at it, and were absolutely shocked by the wording.

"You can't describe a massacre like that, as 'their subsequent dispersal by the military'.

"That's a disgraceful thing to do, so we're calling for this to be replaced as a short term thing and in the long term we want to see a prominent and appropriate and respectful monument to this historic event."

Responding to their calls on the anniversary, Sir Richard revealed that he agreed the plaque should be replaced with one that more accurately described events that day.

Child killed

Sir Richard said: "We are intending to mark the Peterloo Massacre as a key point in the city's and indeed the country's history and a tragedy befitting a memorial.

"The issue was first raised with me by school children from Salford who understand the need for those who lost their lives and the reason they had come together to be remembered."

Sir Richard said the city council was also looking to mark the Suffragette movement and the Abolition of Slavery with public monuments.

The crowd of 60,000 had gathered in Manchester to listen to calls for the right for people in some industrial towns to vote for their own MPs.

But local magistrates panicked at the sight of the huge crowd and sent in local militia, who waded in on horseback attacking people with their sabres.

Eleven people were killed - including a woman and a child - and some historians argue the figure was even higher.




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