Manchester, 30 April 1999 and 5 June 1999
No-one that the web-site knows in London had any idea there was going to be an event in Manchester. The RTS idea has truly grown up and left home!
And this is what the Manchester Evening News had to say about the truly brilliant idea of having a benefit party afterwards... at the Haçienda!
Here's a non-press account,
They had some water thrown over them once was where the "urine" story came from.
Here's my write-up:
I didn't get down there until about 12:30, by which time the police had just turned up, which meant all the entrances to the building had been secured, and no one could get in or out. There was music pounding out of the Hacienda, and apparently there were a few hundred people inside 'avin it. There were a few hundred more outside wanting to get in. After a while people worked out how to scale the walls, and then backdrops and sheets tied together was lowered out to help people up (to shouts of "Rapunzal, Rapunzal, left down you locks!"), and the folk inside were obviously getting organised, because at first these bits of material just provided assistance to climbers, but after a few tries people were just grabbing hold and being whisked up and into a window. Every time someone got in a huge cheer would go up from the crowd. The police soon got wise to this, and cleared the pavement, arresting anyone who stepped on it or tried to enter the building any other way. They also closed the road, and were using any excuse to arrest people.
Then things got nasty. The police lined-up horses, with police vans behind, and charged the crowd. The vans followed up and the police came out hitting anyone in their way, even chasing after people not leaving fast enough in order to hit them a few times. I personally saw someone run past in front of me, being chased by two police officers, who weren't arresting him, just hitting him, and one of them stopped and shouted at me "MOVE, and if you show your face round here again you'll get some and all!". I was going to point out that this was a violation of section 4 of the public order act, but he was gone, and I didn't see any numbers. A mate who was loudly pointing out every violation of the law the police made got dragged off by his hair and thrown against a van. They brought in a mobile detention centre, and made a few arrests (don't know how many), but they definitely seemed keener on hurting and intimidating people than actually arresting them. I wouldn't have been so quite so angry, but there were several of the police who had big grins on their faces as they started charging at hippies with their batons ready.
By about 3.30 everythings seemed to have calmed down, the police had total control of the area outside the Hac, the folk inside were still having their party (and a few people were still getting in by a fairly scary route along the back of a billboard). I left at this point, but have heard (indirectly, still have to check) that when everyone inside came to leave they were allowed to leave without incident or arrest. Which begs the question of why all that trouble on the street was necessary, when if they'd just left us alone, we could all have been nicely inside, not causing anyone any bother, and left when it was over (which had always been the plan, to be out by Monday).