City Centre

Hundreds took to St Peter’s Square for ‘End Spiking Now’ protests in Manchester last night

"The message is clear - enough is enough."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 28th October 2021

Hundreds gathered in St Peter’s Square last night to protest against the rise in drink spiking in Manchester and across the UK.

On what is typically the biggest day of the week for student nights out, rafts of young people chose to boycott nightclubs on Wednesday night and instead take to city centre hubs up and down the UK to stand in solidarity and demand that drink spiking and needle spiking be taken seriously by authorities amid a recent rise in incidents.

Manchester’s ‘End Spiking Now’ demo last night was called for by local groups under the initiative ‘Girls Night In‘, and the boycott was part of UK-wide protests against spiking in clubs and bars.

Opening the Manchester demonstration in front of at least 1,000 young people, according to The Guardian, 21-year-old student Lucy Nichols declared “an emergency response to an emergency situation”, explaining that there is a “spiking epidemic” sweeping the UK and adding that: “Every single women here will have a story about them or one of their friends being spiked.

“Now we can’t even do the age-old trick of covering up our drinks, because they are spiking us with needles now too.”


Striking images from last night’s demonstrations were shared on social media.

Photos shared to social media showed demonstrators holding up banners with a wide range of phrases and rallying cries, including one that said “The only injection I want is Pfizer!” and another saying “Pankhurst would be PISSED” close to the statue of the Mancunian suffragette in St Peter’s Square.


“I have never felt safe”, “Educate your sons”, and “Stop spiking us you freaks” were more examples of banners to sum up why the demonstrations are taking place.

Following the gathering and collection of speakers in St Peter’s Square, in a defiant stance, one of the organisers encouraged the crowd to walk with them through the streets of the city centre.

They began walking down Oxford Road, chanting: “Whose streets? Our streets”.


Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham was also in attendance at the protest last night, alongside Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser and co-founder of the Warehouse Project, Sacha Lord.

Helen Pidd – The Guardian’s North of England Editor – explained that she spoke to the mayor following the protest last night, and relayed in a tweet that he said: “This one is on us: men, lads, boys.

“That might mean calling out mates for their behaviour or it might mean changing our own behaviour.”

Sacha Lord also said on Twitter this morning: “Last night, myself and Andy Burnham attended the boycott to show support and listen. We will continue to meet and work with the organisers and I’d urge other city regions to do so too.

“The message is clear – enough is enough.”


A number of nightclubs in Manchester city centre – including student hotspots 42nd Street and The Venue – announced ahead of the boycotts and demonstrations last night that they would be closing doors to show support.

Other local venues, promoters, and campaign groups have also spoken out.

As well as organising the boycott and last night’s demonstrations, women have launched a petition calling on the government to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry.

Protestors in Manchester have also penned an open letter to Andy Burnham and other leaders at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) setting out demands, including that GMCA provides bars and nightclubs with anti-spiking devices, enforce more staff training, and create a toolkit for women detailing measures venues should have in place in order to be licensed.

The group would also like to see designated employees on hand to deal with problems of spiking and harassment, as well as for venues to produce their own clear procedures on how to deal with such incidents.


The key focus is for women’s safety to be made more of a priority and for this to be clear to both staff and customers who are visiting any venue in Manchester.

Featured Image & Thumbnail – Twitter / Instagram (@manc_wanderer)