Wednesday, Feb. 09, 2011

Trafalgar Square, London

In the 19th century, Trafalgar Square became the gathering place for Londoners both in times of celebration and times of dismay. Centrally located, the square seemed the point where the East End's working class met the West End's upper class, and it was the site of tragedy on Nov. 13, 1887, when more than 4,000 police officers violently clashed with some 10,000 demonstrators head-on in what is now known as Bloody Sunday. The demonstrators, who fought against unemployment and in favor of Irish home rule, included socialists, Irish nationalists, liberals and other dissidents. While few were killed, the violent crackdown unleashed upon the protesters that day left a scar on the city for some time. Today, Trafalgar Square is still where protesters gather in London, including the large student demonstrations in late 2010 over university-fee increases.