Hundreds attend anti-tier 3 rally in Manchester in protest against government-imposed restrictions
Manchester People's Assembly hold protest against government measures
Manchester moved into tier 3 with funding judged 'insufficient'
Tier 3 measures putting businesses, jobs and public services at risk, say critics
More than 100 people gathered in the rain today to protest the government’s imposition of tier 3 restrictions in Manchester.
Despite local authorities’ best efforts, it was announced on Tuesday that Manchester would enter tier 3 this week in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This came after professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, warned that tier 3 measures alone would not be enough to stop the spread of the virus.
Boris Johnson’s government also announced a £22m support package for the Greater Manchester area, far from the £65m asked for by Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
The Manchester branch of the People’s Assembly organised today’s protest in an attempt to send the government a simple message: “Manchester won’t pay for the crisis”.
Lucy Nichols, from Manchester People’s Assembly, said: “It’s almost as if the city is being punished for something that was completely out of our control.
“We’ve had £22m support, which is £8 per person, which is not enough to keep our hospitals, schools, libraries, homeless support services and all that kind of stuff open.”
The government’s lack of financial support for Manchester was the main talking point for speakers on the stage.
Richard O’Brien, from Unite the Union, said: “The Tory government sees fit to sacrifice the North of England.”
This sentiment was echoed by Emma Runswick, a junior doctor working in the Bolton area.
“Nobody can live on two thirds of the minimum wage,” she said.
“And if you can’t survive, then you won’t isolate.
“It fundamentally undermines the whole process of keeping ourselves and each other safe.”
Around a dozen speakers from various organisations took the stage, including the author of the now infamous Piccadilly Gardens ‘The North is not a petri dish’ graffiti.
“We’re being used as a petri dish as the Tories experiment with our communities to see what happens when you deprive nearly three million people of their wages”, one said.
Among those gathered in Piccadilly Gardens, the feeling was clear: Manchester won’t be bullied for the government’s failures.
“It will take a lot more than a few posh boys to beat us into submission”, said Manchester People’s Assembly Kallum Nolan.