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May Day in Manchester was an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable day of grassroots activism, protest, carnival and party - everything we hoped for and more. As yet we have only sketchy reports of events we were not directly involved with, but from our viewpoint, despite a massive and intimidating police presence, the whole event was peaceful and non-violent - in contrast to it's portrayal in the mainstream media. It was successful from a campaigning point of view, with hundreds, if not thousands of demonstrators distributing leaflets on issues ranging from GM foods, anti-McDonalds, anti-consumerism and the Terrorism Bill to boycotting Stagecoach buses and the asylum bill etc. Main roads such as Princess Street and Oxford road were blockaded for up to an hour at a time despite police attempts to disperse the crowds. During these periods public transport was allowed through by the protestors, but cars were prevented from reaching the city centre. The Mancunian Way was also stopped for a fe
Twenty arrests were reported in the press, but it is likely that this figure does not include those who were involuntarily detained and released without charge.
After a long day of tramping round town bringing capitalism to it's knees, it was time to party. At 11pm, despite police attempts to foil the plan (they were properly foxed!) hundreds of people went to a party in the former Hacienda nightclub. There was music, dancing, food and drink, and much fun was had. This large warehouse-style building was once the best venue in Manchester and it was only fitting that it should reopen on May Day. Only this tiem there was no charge on the door, and the dress code was informal. At about 12:30am the police arrived, having figured out that they had actually failed miserably in preventing the party from happening, and surrounded the building. They arrested a few individuals who left on their own, but when a large group of around 100 people decided to leave together at 5am they could do little more than watch. At the moment the Hac is still occupied and under police siege.
Other Manchester crew contact firstname.lastname@example.org your stories, pictures and video.
Check www.mayday2000.fsnet.co.uk for more news and pics.
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