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.
Inside the Manchester restaurant serving ‘India’s answer to a Wigan kebab’
When it comes to finding new and innovative ways to enjoy the humble potato, it’s fair to say that we Brits pretty much have the art down.
From creamy mash to deep-fried chips, crunchy hasslebacks, hash browns, and the all-time classic that is bubble and squeak, you name it, we’ve tried it.
Still, somehow it took the arrival of Indian street food favorite Bundobust for us to be introduced to the concept of a mashed potato burger – and we are forever thankful.
Comprised of a deep-fried potato dumpling placed inside a brioche bun, accompanied by two house-made chutneys and a whole green chili pepper, since its introduction to the Manchester food scene in 2016 the Vada Pav has become one of Bundobust’s most iconic dishes.
Also known as a Bombay burger, the vegetarian fast food snack sells in its thousands back home in Mumbai and has now become something of a signature dish here in Manchester too.
We recently popped down with Deliveroo for an episode of Takeaway Champions to try the dish, and after one taste our reviewer immediately called it the ‘Indian answer to a Wigan kebab’. It’s simply carbs on carbs on carbs, and we’re here for it.
That said, it’s not the only thing worth ordering when you visit.
Other longstanding menu staples at Bundobust include its barbecued paneer, mushroom and pepper tikka kebabs, sweet and crunchy Bundo chaat, and crispy okra fries; whilst new dishes include the Ragda Pethis – a north-meets-east combination of mushy peas and potato cake, sev, tomato, onion, and tamarind chutney.
Having first opened in Manchester in 2016, today Bundobust has two sites in the city centre. Its original home still sits underneath Piccadilly Gardens, with a second restaurant and in-house brewery residing over on Oxford Road.
The restaurant – initially born in Leeds before making its way to Manchester – has always had a strong reputation for sourcing excellent craft beer, but since quietly opening its own brewery during the Covid lockdowns it’s only gone from strength to strength.
Housed in a unique 100-year-old space within the iconic Grade II listed St James building, the Manchester-based brewery is a custom-built 10-hectolitre facility capable of producing 20,000 pints a month.
Today, alongside beers from other respected brewers, the restaurant serves up a list of specially-made house beers, all designed to complement the flavours of its dishes.
These include a coriander lager, a masala chai porter and a tropical pale ale, as well as its latest concoction: a mango lassi beer created in collaboration with brewers at Northern Monk.
Oh, and to save on your next Deliveroo order from Bundobust make sure to use our code BUNDO10 when you check out.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
The Sparrows ‘ever so proud and honoured’ after award from famous ‘lip licking Michelin Man’
This week Michelin releasesd its list of new Bib Gourmand restaurants for 2023 in the UK and Ireland, and Green Quarter restaurant The Sparrows scored big.
Having recently been featured in the prestigious Guide’s list of recommended Manchester restaurants in January, the team was already on a high – but now all that has been blown out of the water by a second honour from inspectors.
Recognising the high quality of their food as well as the restaurant’s great value for money, the news has left its owners Kasia And Franco Hitchcock absolutely enthused – prompting an outpouring of gratitude on social media last night
Sharing the news with its followers yesterday, owners explained how Bib Gourmand is ‘one of the famous Michelin restaurant guides’ before going on to say that they are ‘ever so proud and honoured to be recognised by this prestigious gastronomic family.’
They explained: “Bib Gourmand restaurants may not have a Michelin star, but the food must still be delicious, and the total cost for three courses should come to under a certain amount, depending on the local cost of living.”
The post then continued to thank their fans and followers, with owners writing: “We are grateful for your appreciation and ongoing inspiration.”
The post has already been liked over 500 times on Instagram at the time of writing, with followers pouring into the comments to offer up words of support and congratulations to the South Tyrolian restaurant.
One person wrote: “From dining at your original site, to the many delicious meals at your new home, every time it is delicious. Congratulations”
Another said: “Bloody fantastic well done can’t wait to see you both on Sunday … Any chance lobster or crab … no pressure !”
The full post read: “GOURMAND 2023 lip licking Michelin Man.
“Bib Gourmand, one of the famous Michelin restaurant guides, recognises restaurants that offer great food at reasonable prices. Bib Gourmand restaurants may not have a Michelin star, but the food must still be delicious, and the total cost for three courses should come to under a certain amount, depending on the local cost of living.