A memorial funded by Manchester City Council in honour of the victims of the Peterloo Massacre has recently come under the scrutiny and criticism of disabled activists.
The memorial is due to be unveiled on the 16th August, the 200th anniversary at the site where paramilitary and military forces set upon some 60,000 protesters and pro democracy demonstrators which led to many serious injuries and 18 deaths.
The design is a series of concentric circles, designed by artist Jeremy Deller. The memorial however is completely inaccessible to many disabled people. The platform in itself was designed with the idea of it also being a platform for speakers and demonstrators, but not thought given to people with disability, a group of people that still desperately need a voice within society.
Manchesters council have refused to ensure the memorial is accessible and this has angered disabled activists. This seems to be an obvious failure to deliver a fitting memorial, one that now seems to purposefully exclude disabled people. Further more the designs were approved despite objections from GMCDP (Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People )
Mark Todd, a former city council access officer, who started a Facebook page to protest at the design of the memorial – and who calls it “a monument to discrimination” – said the group was “angry and shocked” that it was going ahead “despite it being inaccessible to disabled people and others who cannot climb steps”.
They believe this is “an act of exclusion that denies disabled people a voice, a blatant act of discrimination”, with the memorial “set to become a glaring metaphor for inequality and segregation with disabled people at the bottom of the memorial, literally being talked down to”.
The group has called for a “major reworking” of the memorial by Manchester City Council (MCC), to make it accessible to those unable to climb steps, with options “explored in a full, open, transparent and public manner”.
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