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.
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.
MTV EMAs to be held in Manchester for first time ever at Co-op Live arena
The MTV EMAs are to be held in Manchester for the first time ever this year, and are set to take over the new Co-op Live arena.
MTV has just officially confirmed the exciting news this morning (29 February).
Now in its 30th year, MTV’s annual European Music Awards is one of music’s biggest global celebrations, by far, and now it’s been confirmed that the 2024 show will be staged right here in our city to mark its long-awaited return to the UK.
Broadcasting from Manchester’s brand-new, purpose-built live entertainment arena, Co-op Live, on MTV in over 150 countries on Sunday 10 November 2024, the show is set to honour and unite music’s brightest stars.
The show will additionally be available in multiple territories on Pluto TV, and on-demand on Paramount+.
Announcing this morning that the iconic awards show is set to take to Manchester’s biggest stage later this year, Bruce Gillmer, who is the President and Chief Content Officer of Music at Paramount+, said: “The MTV EMAs is one of the biggest global music celebrations, bringing together local and international artists to create iconic performances for fans around the world, and with music at the very heart of Manchester’s rich creative heritage, this vibrant city will guarantee a supercharged 2024 show.
Gary Roden, who is the Executive Director and General Manager at Co-op Live, has added that the new venue is “honoured” to host this year’s EMAs and “become part of the MTV story” as a way of cementing Manchester’s standing within the global live entertainment industry.
Cllr Bev Crag, the Leader of Manchester City Council, says MTV “could not have picked a better place” for this year’s EMAs.
“As a city that is known the world over for our legendary music scene, MTV could not have picked a better place for this year’s EMAs.
“With the expertise, experience, and reputation we also have for delivering successful, world-class events, we’re confident Manchester will provide a superb platform for the best MTV EMAs yet, and we look forward to welcoming MTV and the global music community to our city for what is set to be an epic celebration of music and artists.
“Manchester meets MTV – we can’t wait.”
As Manchester‘s newest – and soon-to-be the UK’s largest – live entertainment arena nears closer to officially opening its doors and welcoming visitors, Co-op Live has been slowly revealing the music acts set to grace the stage as part of its huge launch season jam-packed full of events.
Bolton comedian Peter Kay will open the arena with a special show this April, and countless other major world-renowned artists have all been announced as performing throughout the rest of the year – including Eagles, Olivia Rodrigo, Jonas Brothers, Kings of Leon, Eric Clapton, Take That, Simply Red, Niall Horan, and so many more.
But the MTV VMAs is the first event of its kind to be announced on the venue’s eclectic and ever-growing lineup.
The 2024 MTV EMAs are to be held at the Co-op Live in Manchester on Sunday 10 November 2024, and fans looking to secure tickets are advised to keep their eyes peeled.
Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons
New ‘hobby house’ with loads of FREE crafty workshops opens in Manchester city centre
A new ‘hobby house’ with loads of FREE creative and crafty workshops to attend has just opened in Manchester.
Having opened down at Manchester’s growing neighbourhood, NOMA, the innovative new concept is called Altogether Otherwise, and is setting out to provide the Greater Manchester public with a welcome relief from all the demands and fast-paced culture of city centre life that we’ve, sadly, all become so used to.
Dubbed a ‘hobby house’, Altogether Otherwise is a “place to pursue creativity” and a chance to explore and get stuck into some new activities, all while bumping into like-minded people in an ever-changing gathering space.
An exciting lineup of workshops and events that are free to attend have also been announced.
Altogether Otherwise has seen a former disused printing house on Hanover Street in NOMA be transformed into 6,500 sq ft community space that’s open daily to the public.
Visitors can either step straight off the pavement into a welcoming front-of-house shop, or make their way through into a large workshop that’s apparently meant to offer “endless possibilities for making and meeting”.
On top of this, there’s also be a larger ‘village hall’-style space that’s dedicated to hosting participatory events and activities.
Pottery workshops, woodwork classes, mushroom growing sessions, an evening gardening club, sewing and knitting groups, running teams, and a book club are just some of the exciting interactive events already planned in the calendar for when the new space.
‘Altogether Otherwise’ is the latest venture for creative urbanist Ben Young / Credit: Supplied
‘Altogether Otherwise’ is the latest venture for creative urbanist Ben Young, and is a culmination of a decade of building a participatory neighbourhood down at NOMA.
Ben Young has described the new concept as a place where be people can “simply be”.
“Altogether Otherwise provides an escape from the results-orientated efficiency that has infiltrated every part of our lives,” he commented. “We’re providing a place to simply be, without having to justify or account for ourselves, as the hobbies we encourage are free-wheeling pursuits of aimless pleasure which act as a much-needed salve for a world dominated by achievement.