“Bloody Saturday”, Winnipeg -June 21, 1919

June 21, 2019 all-day

Bloody Saturday

The installation is a nod to one of the most famous images from the strike, which itself became a platform for national labour reforms.

On Saturday, June 21, 1919 — four days before the end of the six-week strike that saw some 30,000 workers walk off their jobs — a large gathering of strikers demonstrated near city hall when a streetcar approached.

Angry at the strike-breakers hired to operate the transit system in place of the striking employees, several people in the crowd began rocking the car from side to side. Unable to tip it over entirely, they set it on fire.

Mayor Charles Gray, who had issued proclamations against assemblies in public places in order to prevent further confrontations between strikers and those opposed to them, read the Riot Act and warned the crowd to get off the streets.

Instead, Mounties on horseback rode in, carrying bats and guns, and clashed with the strikers.

Soon, military personnel from the Fort Osborne Barracks arrived, along with machine gun units who marched into the melee, which had spread into what became known as Hell’s Alley — the lane between Market and James Avenues (now occupied by the Centennial Concert Hall).

When the brawl ended, two people ​had died and 35-45 people, both strikers and police, had been injured. The day became known as “Bloody Saturday.”

100th anniversary of Winnipeg’s 1919 General Strike will be marked with monument, movie, books -CBC

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