unauthorised demonstration in the city centre. Accompanied by a samba band
and two soundsystems mounted on bike trailers, they marched from Victoria
Station into the Northern Quarter, along Market Street and Kings Street,
through Spinningfields into Castlefield.
defence of squatted spaces and the freedom of movement for all. Karen
Elliot, a spokesperson for the group, said: “Squats and autonomous spaces
face a hard time from the authorities. Yet, for many people, especially
some migrant communities, they are the only alternative to homelessness.”
The demonstration highlighted the ridiculousness of hundreds of houses
standing empty, while many of us face extortionate rents, mortgage
repayments or eviction threats. A participant said: “It was about time
that someone protested about the invisible borders that divide the city
into rich and poor”.
At the end of the march in Castlefields, the protesters succeeded in
taking symbolic action against the redevelopment of the area. As they
arrived at the old Jackson’s Wharf pub, they entered the abandoned
building and brought it back to life for a couple of hours of celebration.
Commenting on the mass occupation, Elliot said: “Why listen to the
profit-motifs of the developers instead of responding to the wishes of the
people who need homes?”
The event in Manchester coincided with dozens of building occupations,
protests and street parties across Europe, in cities as diverse as London,
Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague. Worldwide, tens of thousands attended.