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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Liverpool's Bloody Tuesday commemorated‏

A North West TUC Centennial Commemoration was held yesterday in Liverpool to mark the 1911 Transport Strike and the fatal shooting of two workers by troops on Tuesday 15 August 1911:http://www.tuc.org.uk/links/index.cfm?regional=5

Speakers at the event - held close to the scene of the shootings - included Sam Davies and Ron Noon from Liverpool John Moores University, Roz Gladden Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council, Eddie Roberts of Unite and Tim Evans from Llanelli where two unarmed civilians were shot five days later on 19 August 1911 (and where similar commemorations are taking place this month http://1911llanellirailwaystrike.org.uk/ )

In the week following Bloody Sunday in 1911, Liverpool and the whole of Britain was poised on the edge of catastrophe. The railway strike, which had been started by rank and file action in Liverpool, had been declared official, the first national railway strike in history. The docks had been closed after the employers had declared a lock-out. The government response was to pledge unprecedented police and military reinforcements in support of the rail owners.

More than 50,000 troops were mobilised across the country, and police were dispatched wherever the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, thought they were needed. Brutal force was employed. In Liverpool, troops opened fire on civilians on both Sunday and Monday night, and then on Tuesday, August 15th, the most tragic events occurred.

A convoy of vans, containing prisoners who had been arrested on Bloody Sunday, was dispatched to Walton Gaol. It was accompanied by thirty-two armed soldiers. A disturbance occurred on Vauxhall Road and the troops opened fire, injuring five civilians, two fatally.  Five days later, on Saturday 19th August, two more unarmed civilians were shot by troops in Llanelli. These are the last occasions in history when British soldiers have killed civilians on the streets of mainland Britain.

As with Bloody Sunday, Churchill and the government whitewashed these events. No public enquiry was held, despite widespread calls for one. Very little attention has been given since to these outrageous state-sponsored killings. This Centennial Commemoration of the fatal shootings was held to help to redress this grave injustice, and will restore to public memory the names of the two men killed, John W. Sutcliffe and Michael Prendergast.