“The ones who did it can always rationalize their actions and even

forget what they did. But the surviving victims can never forget.”

–Haruki Murakami – 2009

The Peterloo Massacre occurred at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into an unarmed crowd of 60,000–80,000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

By the beginning of 1819, England was facing economic conditions and a famine-like situation coupled with the relative lack of suffrage in Northern England. In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.

Shortly after the meeting began local magistrates called on the military authorities to arrest Hunt and several others on the hustings with him, and to disperse the crowd. Cavalry charged into the crowd with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people were killed and 400–700 were injured.

This event took place exactly a 100 years before the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in India, where the British troops opened fire on a similar protesting crowd in Amritsar.