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History on yourDoorstep IV


Newport,Monmouthshire - November 4th 1839.

In violent clashes today in front of the Westgate Hotel in Commercial Street,  22 Occupy activists, or Chartists as they call themselves were shot by soldiers and armed police as they tried to free activists who they believed were detained in the hotel.  The mayor of Newport, Thomas Phillips, acting on intelligence received, had deputised 500 special constables, and co-opted the local military garrison of 60 well armed soldiers in advance of the arrival of the chartists numbering between 1000 and 5000 protestors, coming down fromthe valleys in three separate columns under the leadership of John Frost.

Due to poor communications and inclement weather, the Chartists had been delayed and passed the night in the rain, before descending on the centre of Newport to liberate their comrades. Shots rang out,and a battle lasting 20 to 30 minutes was fought. ALthough greatly outnumbered, the police and troops being better armed and holding a strong defensive position soon vanquished the Chartists, leaving 22 dead and around 50 wounded. On the government side, four people were wounded, including Phillips, Mayor of Newport.

The Chartists are so named because of their objective to implement the demands of the Peoples´Charter of 1838.

The People's Charter called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic:

    1 - Every man over 21 who was not a criminal or insane should be allowed to vote.
    2 - Voting should be done in secret.
    3 - Candidates should not need to be rich or own property to become a Member of Parliament.
    4 - All Members of Parliament should be paid for doing their job.
    5 - All electoral areas should represent the same number of people.
    6 - Elections should be held annually.

According to a police spokesperson,  over 200 rioters were arrested and are being held in custody, including the three ringleaders.

This story is worth much more than I have been able to communicate here,but more info can be found in Wikipedia as follows

Newport Rising


The first link contains an excellent 5 min video filmed like a BBC interview of both John Frost and Mayor Phillips, but unfortunately I cannot embed it.

le plus ca change, leplus ca reste le meme.

Update  - after 7 hours correction of date of the charter to 1838, not 1938. Hangs head in shame.

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