On Tuesday 23rd February an estimated 3,000 to 15,000 protesters from the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM) march to protest about a cut in unemployment benefits. The police had banned the march but the NUWM were not deterred. The peaceful procession followed a winding route but ended up on Old Market Street where they were faced by a double row of police with batons drawn and backed up by mounted officers at the junction with Castle Street. The marchers were unaware that the Chief Constable had planned in advance to ambush the NUWM leadership by secreting a large number of police in the annex to the Empire Cinema on Carey’s Lane. The march halted at the police line but as the crush of marchers forced the front ranks forwards, the police launched an assault on the head of the procession. Almost simultaneously the hidden police charged out of the Cinema annex and split the march in two. In the confusion, the police attempted to break up the procession by beating and chasing the protestors up Old Market Street however, they were faced by determined resistance.

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