As Theresa May delivered her car crash of a closing speech to the Conservative conference, where she was handed a joke P45 by a prankster, anti austerity campaigners outside the conference venue met the end of the conference with a wall of sound, delivered by pots, pans, drums, whistles and a powerful sound system. Meanwhile round the corner on the steps to the Friends Meeting House, Quakers held a more placid and stately silent vigil with placards explaining their vision for a better Britain.

The wall of sound was organised by Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts (MDPAC) and the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity, as the final event in the Take Back Manchester Festival 2017. Under the festival timetable the PM was presciently described as “Theresa May: Human Catastrophe”.

Some members of MDPAC had been arrested on Sunday in St Peters Square, when they protested against the police kettling anti austerity protestors in the ‘designated protest area’ outside the steps to the central library. The police, taking no chances today, had the MDPAC members surrounded during their noisy demonstration.

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Quakers Silent Vigil, on the steps to the Friends Meeting House

In stark contrast the Quakers used silence and contemplation to get their criticism across to Theresa May’s Conservative government. The silent vigil participants held banners promoting “TRUTH”, “EQUALITY” and “SUSTAINABILITY”. Vigil supporters handed out flyers which asked the Conservative government what they planned to do to tackle Britain’s problems, and also set out the Quakers’ vision for a better future for Britain:

The Conservative Party booked Manchester to hold three party conferences, the last one being this year. Their 2018 conference will be held in Birmingham, with the 2019 venue yet to be confirmed. With the reception they have received this year, from a local population literally (in some cases) sick to death with the inequities of austerity, It is very doubtful they will be back in Manchester.

Conrad Bower

Feature Image via: The Meteor

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  • Co-editor and co-founder of The Meteor. Conrad came to journalism following his move to Manchester after a period working in scientific research in Scotland. Since then he has concentrated on reporting on issues around social justice, the environment and human rights. A staunch advocate for the scientific method and rational debate for understanding the world - he believes only greater public understanding and engagement in the problems that face us all can produce progressive societies, from the local to the global, that can combat the multiple crises we face.

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