‘I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of protest’: Jacob Rees-Mogg responds to Manchester demonstrations

  • Activists gathered with the People's Assembly outside the Conservative conference demanding for change 
  • Conservative party welcomed by crowds booing and chanting 'Tories out' 
  • The Police and Crime Bill remains challenged by the public 

Thousands joined the People’s Assembly to protest the Conservative conference with a series of demonstrations and panel discussions over three days in central Manchester.

People flooded the streets on Sunday to challenge the arrival of the Conservative party, for their first in person conference since the pandemic in 2019.

Over three days protestors gathered outside the conference in St Peter’s Square for speeches, chants and a candlelit vigil to remember the thousands of lives lost during the pandemic. 

Protestors outside of Conservative conference
Protestors outside the Conservative party conference

NHS worker Callum Taylor expressed frustration on government failures during the pandemic, which many believe could have been avoided.

“If the people coming out this building had actually handled things better during the first wave back in 2020, we may have been in a position where we didn’t need the regulations in May this year, and I may have been able to see my grandma before she died,” he said.

‘Tories out’ was the message that echoed in the programme of events held by the People’s Assembly marquee in Piccadilly Gardens. Guest speakers included Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Rayner and Barry Gardiner.

Why are people protesting?

Benefit cuts, immigration laws, the Covid death toll and the Police and Crime Bill, were among numerous reasons why activists came together desperate for a change.

As many plunge deeper into poverty and the social care crisis exacerbates, national concerns grow in the face of a 1.25% National Insurance increase and the end of the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

Rishi Sunak has defended the vote to increase taxes to restore the economy and fund health and social care.

He said: “We should all be grateful to my predecessors and their 10 years of sound conservative management of our economy.”

Exercising the right to protest has remained a focal point opposing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill. which has sparked protests across the country following an announcement in March to introduce a statutory offence of public nuisance, fines of over £2k and a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment.

This article appears courtesy of The Northern Quarter Loop